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Female Genital Mutilation Bills Move Through Senate Committee

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Lawmakers are moving fast to ramp up prison time for female genital mutilation. 

Removing or altering the genitalia of a minor female for non-medical purposes is already afederal crimewith a five-year penalty.  But a state Senate committeejust passed bills to make it a state crime as well – with up to 15 years in prison as a penalty. 

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Rick Jones said the five-year penalty isn’t enough. 

“It still took place,” he said.  “So, we’re gonna make it a 15-year felony here in Michigan, and we wanna make a very strong statement, never again in Michigan.”

The bills follow the federal indictment of two Detroit doctors for allegedly conspiring to perform female genital mutilation on two young girls from Minnesota. 

Northwestern Professor, Doctor Lori Postis an activist against female genital mutilation.  She says Michigan could be a leader in fighting against female genital mutilation – but only if the public will follows through with government action. 

“Sending someone to the pen for 15 years is an incredible sanction for something that’s been dismissed, ignored – everyone’s turned a blind eye to it,” she said.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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