Senate legislation outlaws female genital mutilation in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Bills that will be introduced in the state Senate would make the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.

Senate Bill 337 would establish the crime, while SB 338 would provide the necessary sentencing guidelines. The bills are expected to be formally read in on Thursday.

“Female genital mutilation is a horrible procedure that permanently deforms girls and stands against the rights of girls and women that so many have fought for in our country,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SB 337. “We must put a stop to it.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, female genital mutilation refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The department states federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly circumcising, excising or infibulating the genitals of any child under 18 years of age. Michigan would join at least 24 other states that have laws prohibiting the procedure.

“There is no place for this type of barbarism in Michigan,” said Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, a co-sponsor. “This legislation will help to ensure that those convicted of this heinous act receive the justice they deserve.”

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform female genital mutilation on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“FGM is a violation of human rights. It is an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women and we want Michigan to join 24 states that have outlawed FGM,” said Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, sponsor of SB 338. “My bill makes it possible for the person who does this procedure to receive 15 years in prison. Our bills say ‘Never in Michigan.’ This evil, horrific act against little girls is demonic.”