EndFGMToday Points to 2019 ‘Wall of Shame:’
15 States Still Don’t Protect Girls from the Horrors of Female Genital Mutilation
Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming Must Step Up in 2020
December 16, 2019
Washington, D.C.—Although 2019 was a noteworthy year for the passage of several strong state laws criminalizing the horrific form of child abuse known as female genital mutilation (FGM), 15 states let another year go by without enacting their own anti-FGM measures to protect women and girls.
These states—Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming—are heading into 2020 with no laws on their books to protect their female residents from this brutal and unnecessary procedure that leaves physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.
As the year comes to a close, the EndFGMToday campaign is making yet another impassioned plea for these 15 states to protect their women and girls as soon as possible.
“Just over a year ago, a Michigan judge’s ruling resulted in serious charges being dismissed against three alleged FGM perpetrators who were awaiting trial in Detroit,” said EndFGMToday leader, internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore. “Since that federal law criminalizing FGM was ruled unconstitutional, EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now. Therefore, it’s up to each state to protect women and girls from FGM.
“This year was an important one for new state FGM laws, and while 35 states have enacted their own laws—some of them the toughest in the country—15 states do not yet criminalize this terrible form of child abuse,” Yore added. “We again implore every state in the nation to start the process to introduce FGM criminalization bills or cross the finish line on this important work in 2020. Millions of women and girls are counting on state legislators. Step up and remove your state’s name from this terrible ‘Wall of Shame!’”
Yore noted that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation. Additionally, over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel practice, and the CDC estimates that more than 500,000 girls are at risk of FGM in the United States.