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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Female genital mutilation bills pass state Senate

Woman's silhouette
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State lawmakers are quickly pushing through legislation to make female genital mutilation a state crime. About two weeks ago a Senate committee passed legislation that would make performing female genital mutilation a 15-year felony.

The legislation was introduced shortly after two Detroit area doctors were federally charged with conspiring to commit female genital mutilation on two young girls from Minnesota.

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien, said the five-year federal penalty isn’t enough.

“It’s very important that we have this particular bill so we can have a fifteen year felony, which in my mind doesn’t go far enough,” she said. “But it’s probably the right penalty for this.”

Senator O’Brien said the 15-year penalty mirrors the penalty for second degree criminal sexual conduct.

Specifically, the legislation would make it a 15-year felony to remove or reconstruct a female minor’s genitalia for non-medical purposes.

A few fringe religions around the world still practice forms of female genital cutting.

But Republican Senator Rick Jones said there’s no reason for the procedure.

“This is about controlling women and it is an attack on humanity,” he said. “So today Michigan said no, never again.”

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