States move to ban female genital mutilation

May 18, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Following federal charges against two doctors for performing female genital mutilation in the state, this week the Michigan Senate passed a bill to ban the practice. 

Female genital mutilation involves removing some or all of a girl's external genitalia. The practice is most common in African countries, but the Centers for Disease Control estimates that roughly 500,000 girls and women in the United States are at risk of genital mutilation. The practice carries numerous health risks, from infection to death. There are also lifelong physical and psychological consequences.

About half of states have a law against female genital mutilation in particular. States without a law - including New Hampshire - may still prosecute parents and doctors using laws against assault and child abuse.

There is currently no action to ban female genital mutilation specifically in New Hampshire law.

Supporters of a specific state law against female genital mutilation argue that state laws will raise awareness of the problem and increase prosecutions. While federal law has outlawed female genital mutilation since 2006, prosecutors are charging someone under the law for the first time ever this year.

Opponents of a specific state law argue that existing laws are adequate to prosecute parents or doctors for such a violent act. There is no need for the state to complicate the legal code with specific circumstances for different forms of violence.

Should New Hampshire have a law specifically banning female genital mutilation? Share your opinion in the comments below.

Comments

Ann Towle
- Northfield

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 11:15pm

Yes, I do believe the state of NH should have a law specifically banning female genital mutilation. I also think there should be a law banning the application of foreign law in our state courts to further protect our female population.

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