Sudan Just Outlawed Female Genital Mutilation—Shouldn’t Every State in the U.S., Too?
EndFGMToday Continues to Urge Remaining 12 States Without Anti-FGM Laws to Criminalize This Barbaric Form of Child Abuse
May 6, 2020
Washington, D.C.—The African nation of Sudan recently criminalized the heinous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), and activists there hope the move marks a “new era” for women’s rights in the country, reports the U.K. Daily Mail.
Nearly 9 out of 10 women in predominately Muslim Sudan have undergone FGM, which is performed on girls as young as the age of 5, says internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads the national EndFGMToday campaign.
If a nation like Sudan can outlaw FGM, where it is so overwhelmingly prominent, shouldn’t every state in America do the same?
“The EndFGMToday campaign works frequently with adult women who are still scarred, both emotionally and physically, by their brutal FGM procedures from their childhoods,” Yore said. “Female genital mutilation is not only barbaric, it’s unnecessary. FGM strips girls and women of healthy teen and adult years and healthy relationships, and leaves terrible trauma in its wake.
“Unbelievably, a dozen states in America do not have laws to prohibit female genital mutilation, which is especially alarming as more global nations take action to outlaw FGM,” she added.
Yore also noted that states can no longer rely on a federal mandate to protect their residents from female genital mutilation. In late 2018, Michigan judge Bernard A. Friedman ruled that the 1996 federal FGM law was unconstitutional on a technicality that had nothing to do with the actual issue. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed. Several lawmakers are working toward another federal FGM law.
Three states so far in 2020 have outlawed FGM, bringing the total to 38. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed H.83 on Feb. 27. In Wyoming, HB0127 sailed through the legislative process and Gov. Mark Gordon signed the bill on March 13. Then Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed SB 72 into law on April 2.
Some of the 12 states without laws—Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington—have introduced anti-FGM bills or are very close to the official introductory stage.
EndFGMToday also shares that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation. Additionally, over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel practice, and the CDC estimates that more than 500,000 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the United States alone.