The Senate on Wednesday passed the Stop FGM Act that will give federal law enforcement greater tools to prosecute those who perpetrate the act, and HR 1600 is now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk.
The United States has long opposed the practice, which takes place both domestically and internationally.
I want to personally thank @JacksonLeeTX18 and @MarshaBlackburn for their leadership and commitment to ending FGM in the U.S. In an incredibly difficult year, the little girls in our country who are vulnerable to this painful practice were not forgotten.
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali (@Ayaan) December 16, 2020
“The U.S. Government understands that FGM/C may be carried out in accordance with traditional beliefs and as part of adulthood initiation rites,” documents on the U.S. Department of State website said. “Nevertheless, the U.S. Government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender-based violence and child abuse.”
Although FGM is already against the law in the United States, the “Strengthening the Opposition to Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2020” is meant to empower federal law enforcement to prosecute the crime.
“It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that female genital mutilation is required as a matter of religion, custom, tradition, ritual, or standard practice,” the text of the bill said.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill on Sept. 21, 2020.
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