Kentucky Senate and House Pass Bill to Outlaw FGM!
EndFGMToday Urges Timely Signing of Bill by Gov. Andy Beshear
March 24, 2020
Washington, D.C.—The state of Kentucky is one step closer to outlawing the heinous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)—a terrible form of child abuse that touches every state.
Kentucky is currently one of 15 states nationwide without a law to criminalize the barbaric procedure of FGM, but on March 19, the Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed SB 72. Two months ago on Jan. 22, the Kentucky Senate made the same move. The bill, according to the Richmond Register, “would make performing FGMs on minors a felony, ban trafficking girls across state lines for FGMs and strip the licenses from medical providers convicted of the practice.”
The national EndFGMToday campaign is applauding Kentucky lawmakers for keeping the bill front and center, especially in the wake of so many other challenges in the state.
“We thank Kentucky lawmakers for taking a strong stance to protect women and girls from FGM in Kentucky,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “Now, even as governors around the nation work hard to keep all their residents safe from the coronavirus, we call on Gov. Andy Beshear to quickly sign this bill to protect women and girls from a barbaric act that has been happening around the world for generations. FGM is a terrible, brutal procedure that leaves physical and emotional scars for an entire lifetime.”
Co-sponsored by Sens. Julie Adams, Whitney Westerfield, Ralph Alvarado, Tom Buford, Danny Carroll, Rick Girdler, Denise Harper Angel, Paul Hornback, Alice Forgy Kerr, Morgan McGarvey, Gerald A. Neal, the bipartisan Senate Bill 72 does the following:
- Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 508 to define “female genital mutilation” and creates the Class B felony of female genital mutilation
- Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 211 to require the Department for Public Health in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to develop, produce, and disseminate educational materials related to female genital mutilation
- Amends KRS 15.334 to require law enforcement training on female genital mutilation
- Amends KRS 311.595 to require a conviction of female genital mutilation to result in mandatory revocation of a physician’s license
- Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 413 to permit civil action for female genital mutilation for ten years
- Amends KRS 620.020 to include female genital mutilation in the definition of “abused or neglected child”
- Amends KRS 620.030 to provide that if a person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a child is a victim of female genital mutilation, then that person shall immediately make an oral or written report to the appropriate authorities
- Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 620 to require a report on female genital mutilation reports to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services
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.
Besides Kentucky, these 14 states—Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming—have no laws to protect their female residents from the brutal practice of FGM. Mississippi faces the very real possibility of being the only southern state to not outlaw FGM.
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.