Maine legislature called to ban FGM, as evidence mounts of its barbaric effects

Actor with Maine Roots, Kelly Carlson, Joins State’s Prosecutors

in Bipartisan Effort to #EndFGMToday

Washington, D.C.—Tomorrow, the Maine State Legislature will have the opportunity to vote on a bipartisan bill that would ban in that state a barbaric practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

At issue is whether lawmakers will protect, or leave at risk, untold numbers of little girls and women in Maine who are at risk of FGM’s permanent and involuntary disfiguring—and the extensive psychological and physical damage that usually accompanies such butchery.

Legislators in Maine were powerfully encouraged to come to the aid of these children and women in a new video by Kelly Carlson, an acclaimed Hollywood actor with longstanding family ties to Maine.

View the video here; also available on the #EndFGMToday Facebook page.

One such excuse is that there is no need for a state-level prohibition of FGM, given that it is already a crime under federal statute. In fact, in testimony earlier this year on behalf of the Maine Prosecutors Association, Kennebec and Somerset Counties District Attorney Maeghan Maloney argued strongly that she and her colleagues need lawmakers in Augusta to adopt a state law criminalizing female genital mutilation.

The Maine Senate is expected to vote on such a bill, L.D. 745, on Thursday, July 20. It will then move to the Democrat-controlled House to take up and, hopefully, approve the Senate’s version.

Find contact information about your representatives in the Senate and the House here.

“It has long been said that, ‘As Maine goes, so goes the nation,’” said Elizabeth Yore, head of a new initiative called End FGM Today. “That has rarely been more true than with respect to Thursday’s vote—a test of the principled and compassionate people of Maine and those they have elected to represent them. The little girls of Maine are watching and waiting for justice for criminal and merciless mutilators. So are those at risk elsewhere in the United States.”

 The necessity for action in Maine and beyond has been underscored by the latest news from a federal FGM prosecution in Michigan. According to USA Today, the number of defendants, states and victims involved in an alleged conspiracy to mutilate little girls continues to grow.

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