EndFGMToday to Alabama: Start 2020 Session Strong by Outlawing Female Genital Mutilation
Two Bills, HB 53 and HB 170, Would Make FGM a Class B Felony
February 13, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Now that the Alabama Legislature is back in session, the national EndFGMToday campaign is calling on the state to start off the new year strong by outlawing the heinous practice of female genital mutilation to protect women and girls in the state.
Two bills to this end have been introduced in Alabama: HB 53 by Rep. Laura Hall and HB 170 by Rep. Rod Scott. Both bills would make guilty of a Class B felony anyone who commits female genital mutilation or a parent or legal guardian who permits FGM to be committed on a female under the age of 19. HB 53 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee, and HB 170 had a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Feb. 12.
“We call on Alabama lawmakers to take a stand for young girls at risk for FGM and start the new 2020 session strong,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “Female genital mutilation is a human rights violation, plain and simple, and this heinous act is also child abuse. It’s sickening to know that over half a million women and girls are at risk of FGM right here in the United States—nearly 1,500 in the state of Alabama alone.
“That data translates into real children at perilous risk to the trauma and damage of female genital mutilation—and FGM truly is a form of child abuse,” Yore added. “EndFGMToday urges the Alabama legislature to move forward to help protect little girls from this painful and barbaric procedure whose physical and emotional scars last a lifetime.”
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.