Mississippi Has New Chance to Outlaw Terrible Form of Child Abuse: Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday Calls on Mississippi Lawmakers to Act Swiftly and Decisively—Say ‘No’ to FGM in 2020
February 24, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Just 15 states in the nation have not yet enacted their own anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) legislation, and one has a renewed chance to outlaw the crime, says the national EndFGMToday campaign.
“A new bill in Mississippi has been introduced by Sen. Angela Burks Hill and co-authored by Sen. Joseph Seymour,” reported internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “This is an incredible, renewed chance to protect girls and women in Mississippi from the heinous act of female genital mutilation. No longer can states use the argument that ‘it doesn’t happen here.’ If even one young girl is spared from a lifetime of physical and emotional scars, it is worth it. We call on Mississippi lawmakers to act swiftly and decisively on this bill and become one of the 35 states that says ‘no’ to FGM in 2020.”
Senate Bill 2075, which is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a division of Public Health and Welfare, seeks to accomplish the following:
- Create civil remedies for victims of mutilation
- Provide a statute of limitations for actions arising from such acts
- Classify genital mutilation of a female minor as child abuse
- Waive the tort claim limits on causes of action for genital mutilation of a female minor
- Waive sovereign immunity for a cause of action based on the genital mutilation of a female minor
- Create a new statute of limitations for a cause of action founded on the genital mutilation of a female minor; and for related purposes.
Legislators in the state allowed Senate Bill 2472 to die in committee a year ago.
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge last year ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed.
Yore also 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 practice, and over half a million women and girls are at risk of FGM right here in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Besides Mississippi, additional states that do not currently outlaw FGM include: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.