North Carolina Introduces Bill to Criminalize FGM

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The North Carolina Senate has just introduced new legislation that would make it a felony to perform female genital mutilation (FGM) or consent to FGM being carried out on girls.

North Carolina Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) introduced Senate Bill 9 “because we must protect our girls from this abuse of being mutilated … and this barbaric procedure,” according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “When this issue has been brought up, most people can’t believe it’s not already illegal to do this in North Carolina.”

SB 9 would make performing FGM in North Carolina a Class C felony—with a 44- to a 182-month prison sentence—and would also penalize those who consent to the procedure, such as a parent or guardian. Krawiec is hoping for the bill to become effective Dec. 1, 2019, to “give time for notification of the new statute to legal authorities, and give time to educate and notify medical providers of the change in statute.”

The Journal also reported that, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital report, “4,287 girls and women, including 973 under age 18, in North Carolina come from families who immigrated here from countries that practice FGM. The report says those girls and women could be at risk of having FGM performed on them.”

If the bill passes and is signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina would become the 29th state to criminalize FGM. In North Carolina, 9,399 girls and women are at risk for FGM, including more than 3,000 under the age of 18, according to research by the Population Reference Bureau.

Ohio became the 28th state to outlaw FGM when legislators voted in favor of a similar FGM bill in December and Gov. John Kasich signed it into law last month. Almost half the states in the nation, however, have not instituted laws to criminalize FGM.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 women and girls are at risk for FGM in the U.S. Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is 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 practice.

View the at EndFGMToday.com state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws and learn more about FGM at www.EndFGMToday.com or on social media at #EndFGMToday.

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