Maine Lawmakers to Vote on Female Genital Mutilation Bill Tomorrow
Even in U.S., Girls Still Subject to This Horrific Mutilation—#EndFGMToday
Washington, D.C.—Many Americans are unaware that the barbaric practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs not just in other countries, but right here in the United States as well. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, over half a million girls and women in America have already been subjected to such mutilation—or are at risk of having it inflicted upon them. Reportedly, some of them live in the state of Maine.
Fortunately, the Maine legislature will vote tomorrow on a bill that would make female genital mutilation a crime in that state, joining 24 others that already have similar statutes on their books. The Maine Senate overwhelmingly voted previously to approve a ban on female genital mutilation. But the Maine House narrowly rejected a similar bill.
“Advocates for girls and women here in the U.S. are calling for Maine lawmakers to #EndFGMToday and urging legislators to pass L.D. 745,” said Elizabeth Yore, head of a new initiative, End FGM Today. “Some House lawmakers who voted against the bill said they didn’t believe the practice was happening in Maine. Yet, others say they have heard personal stories, including from some in the medical profession, that adults have been taking young girls from Lewiston, Maine, to the Boston area to have their genitals mutilated.
“Three individuals in Michigan were recently arrested for allegedly mutilating two 7-year-old Somali immigrant girls,” Yore added. “These suspects are reportedly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to those yet to be identified, charged and prosecuted. It is simply intolerable that half the states in this nation, including Maine, still do not have laws protecting girls and women from this ghastly, involuntary disfiguring.”
Incredibly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is fighting to prevent the adoption of laws that would protect young girls from having their genitals mutilated. The ACLU has been doing that in Maine, among other places, even though this horrific procedure strips the human rights of women and girls to have normal, biological sexual relations; could prevent them from giving birth; and also may cause serious gynecological complications—to say nothing of the pain and anguish this practice causes on physical, psychological and emotional levels.
The Portland Press Herald recently reported that, according to estimates by the United Nations, female genital mutilation is performed on at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries.
“Let’s be clear,” Yore said, “female genital mutilation is child abuse and an abomination for all those afflicted by it. Some seek to defend the mutilating of little girls like those in Michigan by claiming that this cruel disfiguring must be allowed in America as a form of ‘religious practice.’ Legislators in Maine have an opportunity tomorrow to establish unmistakably that no little girl living in their state can be maimed for any reason.
“Maine’s Senate should once again send an unmistakable message of solidarity with the girls and women at risk of female genital mutilation—‘You are safe in the state of Maine,’” Yore continued. “And, this time, the House of Representatives must do the same.”
Learn more at www.EndFGM.Today and on social media at #EndFGMToday about FGM and efforts underway in the U.S. to stop it.