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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 20, 2019 01:14 PM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Female Genital Mutilation Part II
Act No. 21 of 2019 was enacted in June of 2019 and criminalized the horrific practice of female genital mutilation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This practice is not just happening in Pennsylvania, it is on the rise. This legislation made FGM a felony offense of the first degree. While this initiative is imperative for the health and well-being of girls and young women, there is more that can be done for survivors and communities most at risk. I plan on introducing legislation that expands upon our efforts regarding the damaging practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM is universally recognized as a violation of human rights and bodily integrity. I intend to strengthen penalties against those practicing the non-medical and unnecessary procedure of FGM. This bill will include language that if a physician performs and is convicted of FGM there will be an automatic revocation of their medical license. It is critical to remove these offenders from practicing medicine and impose strict penalties to criminalize the heinous act of FGM.
Recent studies reflect that there are almost 7,000 girls at risk in Pennsylvania for becoming victims of FGM. This is the 5th highest number of at-risk females in the nation. In order to have a better knowledge of the statistical data, this legislation would include mandatory reporting requirements for FGM. By identifying where cases of FGM occurs, we will be able to pinpoint geographic locations and potentially where the most-at-risk populations live. Tracking and reporting the occurrence of FGM will provide an undisputable data set of FGM in Pennsylvania.
Aiding survivors and those at-risk is essential to addressing FGM. Survivors should have the right to sue the person that violated their body, health and security. This bill would include authorization for women and young girls to take legal action against their perpetrator. In addition, this measure would extend the statute of limitation to allow all victims of FGM to file a suit regardless of when the crime occurred. Encouraging survivors to come forward will acknowledge the severity of FGM and provide an opportunity to seek damages.
Finally, this legislation would establish educational and outreach opportunities for communities most at-risk for FGM. This educational directive would implore tactics to identify and address FGM. It is my intent that professionals including, but not limited to, law enforcement officers, social workers, teachers, and guidance counselors are taught what to do if they encounter FGM. By understanding the severity of this practice and knowing how to respond, our communities will know that they have these close resources and can reach out for help.
Please sign on as a co-sponsor to this legislation to further address the practice of FGM and expand our efforts to protect survivors and those most at risk in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB2125