Kentucky Senate Passes Bill to Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday Urges House Judiciary Committee to Keep Bill on Fast Track
February 5, 2020
Washington, D.C.—The state of Kentucky is one step closer to outlawing female genital mutilation (FGM) and protecting its women and girls from the heinous practice.
Kentucky is one of 15 states nationwide without a law to criminalize the barbaric procedure of FGM, but on Jan. 22, the Kentucky Senate unanimously passed SB72, which, 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.”
Now, the national EndFGMToday campaign is imploring Kentucky House Judiciary Committee to keep the bill front and center.
“We urge lawmakers to act quickly and take a strong stance to protect women and girls from FGM in Kentucky. Elected officials allowed a bill to die in 2018, which should not happen again,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “It’s time to cross the finish line with this law that will protect Kentucky’s female residents from the terrible, brutal procedure of FGM 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
The bill is now with the House Judiciary Committee.
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.
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.