EndFGMToday Calls on North Carolina House to Move on Female Genital Mutilation Legislation
State Laws Are Even More Crucial After Federal Ban Was Struck Down
Washington, D.C.—The national EndFGMToday campaign is calling on lawmakers in North Carolina to move forward with proposed legislation that will protect women and girls from the horrific and barbaric procedure of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The new legislation introduced earlier this year would make it a felony to perform FGM or consent to FGM being carried out on girls in the state.
“We call on North Carolina representatives to cross the finish line with this important legislation,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “The mutilation of little girls’ genitals defies all standards of humanity and cries out as a hideous violation of human rights, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization. And the CDC estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the United States. Even more urgent locally is that North Carolina has been identified by the federal government as one of the top high-risk states for female genital mutilation.”
According to the Population Reference Bureau, North Carolina ranks as 16th in the country for women and girls at risk for FGM, Yore added. Furthermore, the bureau found that the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan areas in North Carolina rank 23rd in the nation for FGM risk.
“That data translates into real children at perilous risk to the trauma and damage of female genital mutilation,” Yore said. “The North Carolina state slogan is ‘A Better Place to Be.’ The North Carolina House of Representatives must make this true and move forward to help protect little girls from this painful and barbaric procedure whose physical and emotional scars last a lifetime.”
North Carolina Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) introduced Senate Bill 9 on Jan. 30 “because we must protect our girls from this abuse of being mutilated … and this barbaric procedure,” according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “When this issue has been brought up, most people can’t believe it’s not already illegal to do this in North Carolina.”
SB 9, which passed the State Senate unanimously March 25, would make performing FGM in North Carolina a Class C felony—with a 44- to 182-month prison sentence—and would also penalize those who consent to the procedure, such as a parent or guardian. Krawiec is hoping for the bill to become effective Dec. 1, 2019, to “give time for notification of the new statute to legal authorities, and give time to educate and notify medical providers of the change in statute.”
The bill is now with the State House of Representatives for debate and a future vote. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is a proponent of the bill and said he looks “forward to working with House leadership to move this legislation swiftly through the process of becoming law.”
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed.
Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel practice.