South Carolina Close to Becoming 32nd State to Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday Applauds Lawmakers Who Worked to Fast-Track FGM Bill, Which Could Reach Senate Floor This Week
Washington, D.C.—South Carolina is making great progress in becoming the 32nd state to criminalize the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Right here in the U.S., over half a million girls, as young as the age of 5, are at risk for the brutal and unnecessary procedure.
The national EndFGMToday campaign is applauding lawmakers in South Carolina for making its state measures a priority and moving a bill through the legislative process quickly.
“The mutilation of little girls’ genitals defies all standards of humanity and cries out as a hideous violation of human rights, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “The CDC estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the United States. Legislators in South Carolina realize this fact and are working to protect women and girls in their state. We implore members of the South Carolina Senate to vote ‘yes’ on H. 3973 to protect girls from this horror that is truly child abuse.”
Introduced by Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford, H. 3973 is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of two dozen lawmakers and “would make attempting, performing or facilitating the practice on a minor under the age of 18, or an incapacitated adult, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison or a $20,000 fine, or both,” according to TheState.com.
EndFGMToday leaders also noted that House Judiciary Committee members voted unanimously to move the bill to the full House in late February. The House then passed the bill unanimously March 6. On the Senate side, the measure was approved by the Judiciary Committee mid-last week, and the full state Senate could vote on the bill this week.
Those who are interested in contacting Senators in South Carolina ahead of the vote may find contact information at this link.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, nearly 1,400 women and girls in South Carolina are at risk for FGM, Yore noted. Furthermore, the PRB found that the Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia region of North and South Carolina is also a top metropolitan area in the nation for FGM risk.
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed. The U.S. government has declined to appeal the decision.
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.