Legislature votes to outlaw female genital mutilation common in Muslim sects
“Muslim women are more likely to have their daughter circumcised …” Religious Differences in Female Genital Cutting, National Institutes of Health
Philadelphia Tribune – Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a felony to practice female genital mutilation in the Commonwealth.
State Rep. Tom Murt proposed House Bill 2526 earlier this year.
He noted that the U.S. Department of State considers female genital mutilation (FGM) a public health concern and a human rights issue as the practice violates the right to a woman’s bodily integrity.
“I agree with the Department of State,” Murt said.
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“Women who are immigrants are at continued risk of the practice, even though they live in the United States, as religious and cultural beliefs follow the women to this country. My legislation prohibits the practice and grades the offense as a felony of the first degree.”
The House of Representatives unanimously passed it and sent it to the state Senate on Oct. 9.
If the Senate and governor approve the law, Pennsylvania would become the 28th state in the U.S. to pass anti-FGM legislation.
FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The procedure is almost always carried out on girls under the age of 15.
The practice “violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity; the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and the right to life when the procedure results in death,” a press release from the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus said.
As many as 507,000 women and girls in the U.S. had undergone FGM or were at risk of it in 2013, according to research from the Population Reference Bureau. Read more.