Indiana One of Just 15 States That Has Not Outlawed the Heinous Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday: Now Is the Time for Indiana Legislators to Prepare a Bill for the 2020 Session That Will Protect Women and Girls
Washington, D.C.—The past two years have seen an increase in the number of states across the nation that have enacted their own laws criminalizing the heinous and barbaric procedure of female genital mutilation (FGM). While this is a positive development, reports the national EndFGMToday campaign, it also means 15 states do not protect their girls from this terrible form of child abuse.
One of those 15 states without protections is Indiana. EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled last year that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed.
For now, therefore, it is up to states to protect women and girls from FGM. On the federal level, however, new legislation has been introduced.
EndFGMToday leader Elizabeth Yore reported last month that Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania have introduced companion bills that would criminalize FGM nationwide. H.R. 3583, the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2019, and S. 2017 were both introduced this summer with the goal of rectifying the shortcomings in the previous federal law that led to the Michigan judge’s decision.
“In the meantime, though, it’s imperative that every state have FGM criminalization laws on the books,” said Yore, also an internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate. “Quickly, these remaining 15 states will become known as places where FGM perpetrators can get away with this crime against children. Indiana does not want this distinction, and with its former Gov. Mike Pence committed to human rights issues at the White House level, Indiana lawmakers must step up during the 2020 legislative session to introduce a strong anti-FGM bill that will protect its female residents.”
The newly proposed federal legislation would again ban FGM on girls under 18 and specifies on laws governing interstate commerce, which Congress has jurisdiction over.
Yore also 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 female genital mutilation in the United States.