Senate panel approves bills to ban female genital mutilation in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved bills that would criminalize female genital mutilation in Michigan.

Senate Bill 337 would establish a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment for the act, while SB 338 would provide the necessary sentencing guidelines.

“We have to end the barbaric attacks on our girls,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SB 337. “Female genital mutilation is not a medical procedure — it is solely designed to oppress girls and women. Let’s stand up and protect those who have been defenseless.”

The legislation was introduced in response to the alleged actions of two Michigan-based doctors that were indicted in federal court for conspiring to perform female genital mutilation on minors in the state. The act is already a federal crime with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

“We are making history today,” said Dr. Lori Post, associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine and incoming director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University. “These bills are much larger than just Michigan. The globe has its eyes on these bills and what we are talking about today.”

If enacted, Michigan would join 24 other states with specific laws against female genital mutilation.

The bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.