EndFGMToday: Mississippi Lets Go of Another Chance to Outlaw Heinous Form of Child Abuse: Female Genital Mutilation
Mississippi Holds Dubious Distinction of Being Only State in the South That Will Not Outlaw FGM in 2020
March 30, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Senate Bill 2075 in Mississippi is dead, which means that state lawmakers have squandered another chance to outlaw the terrible practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
According to the national EndFGMToday campaign, Mississippi holds the dubious distinction of being the only state in the South that will not move to outlaw FGM in 2020.
“Mississippi legislators had an incredible, renewed chance to protect girls and women in their state from the terrible form of child abuse known as female genital mutilation,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “But instead, they let the bill die in committee, and along with it, the hopes of girls and women that theirs state would protect them from the horrors of FGM. Since late last year, it’s been up to states to enact their own anti-FGM laws, after a Michigan judge ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. No longer can states use the argument that ‘it doesn’t happen here.’ If even one young girl is spared from a lifetime of physical and emotional scars, it is worth it. But Mississippi has let another year go by without protecting its girls.”
Mississippi legislators also allowed Senate Bill 2472 to die in committee a year ago.
Mississippi’s fellow southern states, Alabama and Kentucky, both have made decisive moves to outlaw FGM. In Alabama, HB 53 has passed the full House and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. In Kentucky, SB 72 passed the full Senate and the full House unanimously and is awaiting the signature of Gov. Andy Beshear.
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, and over half a million women and girls are at risk of FGM right here in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.