Senate approves bills to stop female genital mutilation

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would help end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state.

Senate Bills 337 and 338, sponsored by Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, and Sen. Rick Jones would ban the practice of FGM in Michigan. The bills would make the practice a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“This is about standing up for girls and women in our state against a horrific act of barbarism,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights that cannot be tolerated. I am proud to be working with Senators O’Brien, Emmons and Schuitmaker to have Michigan join 24 other states in outlawing this unnecessary and disturbing act.”

SBs 368 and 369, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, would ban the transportation of girls for an FGM procedure. Under the bills, the crime would be a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly excising or infibulating the genitals of any girl under 18 years of age.

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform FGM on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

SBs 337-338 and 368-369 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.