These Four States Have High Risk of Female Genital Mutilation—Yet No Anti-FGM Laws
Even in U.S., Women and Girls Subject to Horrific Mutilation; Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Don’t Protect Them
Washington—The perception is that female genital mutilation (FGM) occurs only in other countries, but this barbaric practice shockingly happens right here in the U.S. as well.
In fact, of the states in the top 10 for FGM risk to women and girls, four have no laws criminalizing the cruel and unnecessary practice.
Elizabeth Yore, international child advocate and head of the national #EndFGMToday initiative, points to research detailed by the Population Reference Bureau that outlines the 10 states with metro areas where FGM risks are the highest: New Jersey, Virginia, Minnesota, California, Washington (state), Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts.
Of those, Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have no state laws protecting its female residents from this barbaric practice.
“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. Shockingly, however, lawmakers in Massachusetts, where risk in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is significant, squandered their chance to protect girls from FGM.”
The latest state to enact an anti-FGM law is New Hampshire, where Gov. Chris Sununu signed a measure to protect girls and women last month.
“While some developments have been positive, 23 states do not have laws protecting females from this ghastly practice—and that is unacceptable,” Yore added. “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.