Mandatory Reporting FGM Legislation Passes Tennessee Senate, Now Onto Full House
#EndFGMToday Praises Effort to Further Protect Girls and Women
WASHINGTON—A new bill requiring health care practitioners to report incidents of female genital mutilation (FGM) has unanimously passed the Tennessee Senate by a vote of 31-0, and next will head to the full Tennessee House.
SB 1800, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), requires all hospitals, facilities and practitioners to report to the Department of Health information about any incident that appears to be female genital mutilation within 30 days of treatment.
The national #EndFGMToday initiative is praising the bipartisan effort for mandatory reporting regarding FGM in Tennessee.
“Mandatory reporting is crucial to ending FGM in America,” said Elizabeth Yore, international child advocate and head of #EndFGMToday. “Not only will other doctors and nurses think twice about committing this heinous crime, often in the dark of night, but parents will be less inclined to subject their daughters to this brutal procedure under the excuse of religious tradition if they know the medical community is watching. In other states, continued bipartisan support has characterized FGM legislation, and a recent unanimous bipartisan vote in the U.S. House increased the criminal penalties for FGM from five to 15 years.”
The Tennessee bill requires health care workers to report suspected cases of FGM to the state health department. Reporting to law enforcement is already required by state law for certain injuries, which includes female genital mutilation. The bill also specifies that all data obtained from the incident reports will be confidential and may not be released to the public.
An amendment to the bill requires district attorneys general to annually report the number of cases where FGM appeared to have been inflicted to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Criminal Justice Committee of the House of Representatives.
Yore 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 and barbaric practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Twenty-six states and the federal government have criminalized FGM. Anti-FGM efforts are underway in several other states.
Learn more about FGM on social media at #EndFGMToday, as well as efforts in the U.S. to stop it.