Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming in America’s Heartland Don’t Protect Girls from FGM
#EndFGMToday Urges These States to Introduce and Pass Legislation to Shield Women and Girls from Horrors of Female Genital Mutilation
November 14, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Three neighboring states in America’s heartland—Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming—are among the 15 states that have not passed their own laws to criminalize the barbaric procedure female genital mutilation (FGM).
Failing to protect women and girls from this heinous practice, says the national #EndFGMToday initiative, is a tragedy, especially now that a federal law outlawing the heinous practice is non-existent.
“As legislators prepare to return to the work of representing the people in their state in early January, now is the time for lawmakers to champion anti-FGM bills that will protect their girls and women from this barbaric and unnecessary practice,” said international child advocate and attorney Elizabeth Yore, who leads #EndFGMToday. “It is well-known that FGM perpetrators will travel to other states, often under the cover of night, to have girls subjected to this horrible act. In fact, these nightmare ‘trips’ are referred to as ‘vacation cutting,’ and the girls as young as 4, 5 or 6 years old are unaware of the horrors about to be inflicted upon them. This is exactly why it’s imperative that every state have FGM criminalization laws on their books. Quickly, these remaining 15 states will become known as places where FGM perpetrators can get away with this crime against children.”
A bill has been introduced in Wyoming, but HB160 was never voted on by the floor after the Judiciary Committee recommended by a 9-0 vote last January that the bill proceed. Advocates against the practice of FGM are unaware of bills in existence in Montana and Nebraska.
“We often hear arguments or excuses from legislators that female genital mutilation ‘doesn’t happen here,’” Yore said, “but if there was a way to protect even one girl from experiencing this horror, why not take action?”
Besides Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming, additional states that do not outlaw FGM include: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Washington and Vermont.
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled last year that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional.
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.
Learn more about FGM at www.EndFGMToday.com, including a state-by-state map of those that do have laws, or on social media at #EndFGMToday.