What is FGM?
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Source: World Health Organization
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- FGM can cause severe bleeding, cysts, infections, and complications in childbirth.
- 200 million girls and women are affected worldwide in 30 countries
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
- In 2013, Maine had 1,603 women at risk, and 399 were under 18.
- MaineCare/Medicaid has paid for treatment from complications caused by FGM.
- Maine’s population includes people from high risk countries like Somalia and Djibouti.
- In 2017 and 2018, the Maine Legislature narrowly failed to pass multiple bills prohibiting FGM.
Legislative History in the United States
- In 1996, US Congress passed a federal law criminalizing FGM.
- In 2013, US Congress passed a federal lawmaking prohibiting “vacation cutting.”
- In 2018, New Hampshire became the 27th state to prohibit FGM -unanimously.
Why enact a state law in addition to the federal prohibition?
- State laws are not prosecuted by federal prosecutors.
- “The prosecutors do not feel confident that they can charge someone with committing female genital mutilation without the passage of this bill.” Maine Prosecutors Association/2017
- State laws serve as a strong deterrent.
How can we prevent FGM?
- Enact laws that deter FGM / Prosecute offenders / Educate the affected communities.