ACLU Fights Against Law Criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation

Even though Maine is at high risk for the Islamic ritual.

Maine GOP Rep. Heather Sirocki is sponsoring bill LD745 which would make the Islamic ritual of female genital mutilation (FGM) a crime. However, the American Civil Liberties Union is very much opposed to the legislation.

Sirocki says Maine is a high-risk area in America for FGM and happens so often that the federal government sends special funds to help the state. The bill would make FGM a Class B crime which carries a $20,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. In addition, the bill punishes parents and/or guardians of the victim and criminalizes “vacation cutting” — where the victim is flown overseas to have the “procedure.”

According to The Daily Caller, the ACLU “staunchly opposes the protection.”

“ACLU spokesman Oamshri Amarasingham said that the risk of mutilation isn’t worth expanding Maine’s criminal code,” the report states. “The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault also supported the ACLU, arguing that FGM is not happening in Maine.”

But Sirocki said, “Federal prosecutors take a very small amount of cases. The state of Maine deals with thousands of cases. If a situation would occur and this is the issue, if the federal government doesn’t have enough prosecutors, it doesn’t get prosecuted.”

The bill will be reviewed by the state house of representatives before heading for final approval in the state senate. If it passes, the DC notes, Maine becomes the 25th state to criminalized FGM.

According to a 2012 Center for Disease Control report, there were 500,000 FGM victims in the United States. Since 2003, almost 800 have violated FGM laws nationwide and been deported. There have been at least 400 additional arrests.

But the ACLU doesn’t think it’s that big a deal.

Photo credit: agoolapulapu via Foter.com / CC BY

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