Wyoming and Kentucky Become 36th and 37th States to Outlaw Heinous Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday Applauds Decisive Action in Both States Amid Challenges
April 6, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Wyoming and Kentucky are now the 36th and 37th states in the nation to outlaw the terrible form of child abuse known as female genital mutilation (FGM).
The national EndFGMToday campaign is praising both Wyoming and Kentucky lawmakers for taking the health and welfare of girls and women at risk for FGM seriously, especially as many states languish for years in the process of considering anti-FGM legislation.
“We applaud Wyoming and Kentucky lawmakers for taking such decisive action on a bill that will protect girls and women from the ravages of female genital mutilation,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “FGM is a terrible, brutal procedure that leaves physical and emotional scars for an entire lifetime, and no female should have to be subjected to this horrific procedure that is performed on girls as young as 5 years old. Now, thanks to the swift action of Wyoming lawmakers and the strong moves by legislators in Kentucky, girls in those states won’t have to.”
In Wyoming, HB0127 sailed through the legislative process in about five weeks, after first being introduced on Feb. 7. Gov. Mark Gordon signed the bill, after passage in the House and Senate, on March 13.
Kentucky became the 37th to outlaw FGM after Gov. Andy Beshear signed SB 72 into law on April 2. The Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed the measure on March 19, and the Kentucky Senate made the same move on Jan. 22.
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.
Thirteen states—Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington—have no laws to protect their female residents from the brutal practice of FGM. Some states do have bills in the works for 2020.
Yore also noted 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.