Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon Balks at Bringing L.D. 745 Up for Vote on Aug. 2; Law Criminalizes Barbaric Practice in State; #EndFGMToday
Washington, D.C.—In less than a week, Maine lawmakers will have a chance to protect girls from the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM) in their state.
On Aug. 2, the Maine Senate could vote again on L.D. 745, a bill that would make FGM a crime in Maine. Previously, the Senate passed the bill unanimously, and it is expected to pass again. But then, the House must also take up the bill, vote and pass it—and a key in the process is Speaker of the House Sara Gideon acting in the best interest of Maine’s girls and women.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Heather Sirocki, as well as advocates from the new initiative #EndFGMToday, are encouraging Maine citizens to take action in various ways before the vote on this critical bipartisan issue:
1. Urge Speaker of the House Sara Gideon to bring L.D. 745 to vote in the House on Aug. 2.
2. Contact Democrat Representatives who are against passing L.D. 745:
3. Contact “turncoats” who once sponsored or supported the bill but have now flipped:
4. Create awareness about the horrors of FGM by visiting www.EndFGMToday.com and its Maine Facebook page or by sharing this message on social media: “Maine, don’t allow our state to become a safe harbor for female genital mutilators! #EndFGMToday”
“I have worked as an attorney for 30 years and know that prosecutors need a law like this to ensure that little girls are protected from this merciless and cruel procedure—and that mutilators are prosecuted,” said Elizabeth Yore, head of End FGM Today. “We have heard the specious argument that this law is not needed under the present criminal code. Yet, prosecutors who are charged with protecting the safety of all Maine citizens have stated that they do not feel confident the state can charge someone with committing female genital mutilation without the passage of this bill. Prosecutors should be given the clear guidance they need by making female genital mutilation a state crime. Clear statutes without guesswork are important for state prosecutions.”
Yore added that the United Nations and the World Health Organization have deemed FGM a violation of human rights and have urged the banning of FGM in countries around the world.
“Maine must affirm this human right for girls and women and join the 25 other states across the U.S. that have criminalized FGM,” she said. “Prosecutors need the tools to protect little girls from this brutal barbarism.”
Learn more about the progress of the bill in Maine and how you can help #EndFGMToday at www.EndFGMToday.com and on social media.
To interview a representative on this topic, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, x104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.