New England, Alaska and Hawaii Are Far Apart, But Have Something in Common—No FGM Laws
Even in U.S., Women and Girls Subject to the Horrors of Female Genital Mutilation, Yet 23 States Don’t Have Laws to Protect Them
Washington—New England, Alaska and Hawaii might seem far away from each other on a U.S. map, but these states have something in common—they don’t have state laws protecting women and girls from the brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Just 27 states in the U.S. have enacted anti-FGM laws. Even though FGM has been a federal crime since 1996, international child advocate Elizabeth Yore, who serves as head of the national #EndFGMToday initiative, says local prosecutors need state laws to crack down on this horrific crime in their states.
New England, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, along with Alaska and Hawaii, must put these laws on their books to keep girls safe from a lifetime of physical and emotional scars, Yore added. New England neighbors New Hampshire and Rhode Island have both enacted laws.
“With important midterm elections just a few months away, legislators in these states should stand up and say they are committed to protecting women and girls from FGM by sponsoring a bill criminalizing this procedure,” Yore said. “This can and should be a bipartisan issue, as evidenced by the 27 states with laws already in place. While some developments have been positive, 23 states do not have laws protecting females from this ghastly practice—and that is unacceptable. We will be advocating in the new legislative sessions to further protect these girls so they are safe from FGM in all 50 states.”
Yore noted that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Female genital mutilation is also 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.
View a state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws at EndFGMToday.com. Anti-FGM efforts are underway in several additional states that do not yet have laws on the books.
Learn more about FGM on social media at #EndFGMToday, as well as efforts in the U.S. to stop it.