Gaffney: Will US Lawmakers Prohibit Female Genital Mutilation?

by Christopher W. Holton

The New York Times reported yesterday that a lawmaker in the United Kingdom singlehandedly blocked legislation that would have strengthened Britain’s existing prohibition on female genital mutilation. Deplorable as this Member of Parliament’s action is, at least it’s still illegal in the UK to mutilate girls and women’s genitalia.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in nearly half the states of this country.

Last November, District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the U.S. statute enacted in 1996 to prohibit FGM is unconstitutional, due to a drafting error.  In the absence of such a federal prohibition, it is currently perfectly legal to mutilate little girls in 23 American states.

The New York Times should devote attention to the urgent need for American lawmakers to fix the federal statute – and to enact appropriate protections against female genital mutilation in every state in the Union.

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