[A reader’s post on our story about the spike in domestic abuse during the Covid crisis reminded us that we had not covered the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM) in some time. Here’s recent news on this important topic affecting sexual health, human rights, and protection of minors from archaic religious fanaticism. – Headline Health]
“In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control published a report estimating that 513,000 girls and women in the U.S. were at risk or may have been victimized by FGM/C.”
Washington, September 21, 2020
U.S. Representative Scott Perry (PA-10) applauded the passage of legislation in the House that changed our criminal code to ensure the successful future prosecution of those who perpetrate Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C).
Congressman Scott Perry said:
“FGM/C is an especially heinous practice that has impacted the lives of over 200 million women and girls alive today, including thousands in the United States.
“Our Nation has lacked a functional federal criminal statute banning the practice – a gap that’s wholly unacceptable and endangers the lives of innocent girls.
“Since the day the federal law was struck down in November 2018, I’ve worked on a bipartisan basis to raise awareness of FGM/C and reinstitute a federal ban. I’m truly relieved that the House passed legislation today that included much of the language from my legislation, H.R. 3583 – the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act.
“We are one step closer to protecting women and girls from FGM/C in the United States, and ensuring those who perpetrate this barbarism are held accountable.”
In April 2017, a Michigan-based doctor was arrested for performing FGM/C on nine known victims – the first-ever federal charges for this abhorrent practice in the United States.
Nineteen months after the original indictment, a U.S. District judge ruled the federal statute unconstitutional on grounds that as the law was written, FGM/C did not substantially affect interstate commerce – and thus is beyond the constitutional power of Congress under the Commerce Clause.
“Female Genital Mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) includes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. As substantiated by the World Health Organization, the practice has no medical health benefits whatsoever. FGM/C has absolutely no place in America – or anywhere else in the world for that matter.” – Congressman Scott Perry
Following this decision, Perry introduced H.R. 3583 [read full text here], which enumerated six circumstances where FGM/C affects interstate commerce and would allow the Department of Justice to prosecute future FGM/C crimes.
FGM/C comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The international community, including the United Nations, recognizes FGM/C as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
The World Health Organization asserts that there are no health benefits of the practice and the procedure can have severe long-term impacts on the physical, psychological, sexual, and reproductive health of girls and women. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control published a report estimating that 513,000 girls and women in the United States were at risk or may have been victimized by FGM/C.
The legislation passed by the House, H.R. 6100, will head to the Senate for consideration. SOURCE.
Millions of Girls Worldwide Still Subjected to Painful, Dangerous Genital Cutting
March 17, 2020
VOICE OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON – The internationally condemned rite of female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in at least 92 countries, according to a new study released Tuesday by three advocacy groups. Despite a decline in its prevalence in recent decades, there are still millions of girls around the world subjected to the painful and highly dangerous practice.
An age-old ritual, FGM is practiced for a variety of cultural and religious reasons, primarily as a means to curb women’s interest in sex and to cure perceived sexual problems.
In the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community of the Indian subcontinent, it is widely practiced as an initiation rite for girls. It was used in the United States to discourage female masturbation before the cutting practice became outlawed in the 20th century.
The study, conducted by End FGM European Network, End FGM/C U.S. Network, and Equality Now, highlights the extent to which national survey data collected by United Nations agencies in recent years have underestimated the extent of FGM — also known as FGM/C (female genital mutilation/cutting) — around the world.
The U.N. estimates that more than 200 million girls have undergone the ritual in 32 countries during recent decades, based on large-scale national surveys from those countries. The new study examined smaller national studies and indirect estimates to document the practice in an additional 60 countries.
“There is growing evidence of the currency of FGM/C in more countries than actually measured,” said Ghada Khan, one of the authors of the study. “We wanted to highlight the fact that this is a global issue, it is occurring worldwide and that it requires a global response.”
Known as “female circumcision” in some countries, FGM ranges in severity from the partial or total removal of the clitoris to other harmful procedures such as pricking, piercing, incising and scraping the female genitalia … Read more.