ST. PAUL, Minn. (WWJ/AP) – Minnesota lawmakers are moving to levy harsh penalties on parents who subject their children to genital cutting after a Detroit-area doctor was charged.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was charged last week with female genital mutilation and other crimes for allegedly performing the procedure on two 7-year-old Minnesota girls.
Prosecutors say the girls were brought to metro Detroit by their mothers.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the alleged victims told an FBI agent she was told they were going for a “special girls trip.” Once they arrived, she was told she and the other girl had to go to the clinic “because our tummies hurt,” and that the procedure preformed by the doctor would “get the germs out.”
The girl, who described a painful experience, said she was told not to tell anyone about it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM is “an international recognized violation of human rights of girls and women” that has no known health benefits.
A Minnesota House panel unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would make it a felony for parents to subject their children to the practice.
Legislators heard a Somali-American woman’s story of being blindfolded and tied down as a young girl to have her genitals cut. Rep. Mary Franson says she wants to send a message that genital mutilation is child abuse.
Nagarwala, through her attorney, has denied any wrongdoing. Two others, the doctor whose Livonia practice hosted the alleged illegal acts, and his wife were also indicted in the case.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.