LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) – The state Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation outlawing female genital mutilation.
The vote comes just two weeks after a Northville doctor and two others were indicted on mutilation charges involving two girls who were treated at a Livonia clinic.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, recently fired from Emergency Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, is among the charged.
Nagarwala along with Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, are charged with female genital mutilation and conspiracy in a case that involves two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota. The three were indicted by a grand jury in April.
Federal investigators say, last February, the young victims were brought to the Attars’ Livonia clinic, where Nagarwala allegedly performed female genital mutilation on them.
Two bills that will be voted on in the full Senate carry a penalty up to 15 years in prison for the crime.
The committee chair says it isn’t always possible to rely on federal prosecution. And Senator Rick Jones says the five year penalty on federal charges isn’t enough for a horrible, inhuman thing done to a little girl.
One alleged victim told an FBI agent she was bought by her parents to Detroit with another child for what she was told was a “special girls trip.” Once she arrived, she was taken to the clinic for the procedure, and was told not to tell anyone about it.
The doctor’s attorney says it was a harmless religious ritual.
The bills head to the GOP-controlled full Senate for further consideration.
There are about two dozen states with laws relating to genital mutilation.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)