|Posted:||January 16, 2019 12:16 PM|
|From:||Representative Thomas P. Murt and Rep. Donna Bullock|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation (Prior HB 2460/2526)|
|“Female genital mutilation targets little girls, baby girls - who are helpless, who cannot fight back. It's a crime against a child, a crime against humanity. It's abuse. It's absolutely criminal and we have to stop it.”
I will soon reintroduce legislation to establish the offense of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This practice involves the non-medical and non-necessary cutting of the female genitalia. FGM is a coming-of-age ritual in various parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and 15; thus meaning that the procedure is carried out on young girls with no choice. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 140 million women and children worldwide have been affected by female genital cutting or FGM. However, according to the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, it is estimated that 228,000 women in the United States have been cut because they come from a community where this practice is common. Not only is this practice taking place in Pennsylvania, it is actually on the rise as our Commonwealth has become home to immigrant populations that practice this barbaric ritual.
FGM is a practice that has no health benefits nor medical reasoning. Complications from FGM include hemorrhage, severe pain, shock, bacterial infections, urine retention, cysts, recurrent UTI’s, infertility, PTSD, and an increased risk for childbirth complications. The UN has condemned this practice, recognized it as harmful to females, and acknowledges that it poses a serious threat to their health. The United States Department of State considers FGM not only a public health concern, but a human rights issue. I agree with the Department of State on this assessment.
Though they live in the United States, many immigrant women are still at-risk from this practice as their cultural beliefs have followed them to our country. The states with highest number of woman victimized by this cutting are California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This legislation prohibits the practice and grades the offense as a felony of the first degree. It is time Pennsylvania joins the other 26 states who have already criminalized this barbaric crime.
Please consider cosponsoring this legislation.
Introduced as HB315