Michigan Senate Ups Penalties For Female Genital Mutilation

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has approved 15-year prison terms for parents and doctors involved in the genital mutilation of children, in response to a Detroit-area doctor recently indicted in such a case.

The chamber unanimously approved bills Wednesday that would allow the prison term for parents or guardians convicted of transporting girls to undergo the surgery. The legislation also would enable the state to strip those parents of their parental rights.

Doctors who perform the surgery could also face 15 years in prison.

“Female genital mutilation is a horrifying and sickening act of brutality inflicted on young girls throughout the world and even here in Michigan,” said Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, in a medai release. “The tragic recent case in Southeast Michigan, where little girls as young as 6 years old were mutilated by local doctors, illustrates that we are not immune from evil. We must take a stand for all Michigan girls that this unnecessary and traumatic procedure has no place in our state or anywhere else.”

The federal punishment is five years, which Republican Sen. Rick Jones says isn’t enough.

The legislation now goes to the House.

The bills (Senate Bills 337-338 and 368-369) were introduced after Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused in April of conducting the surgery on two 7-year-old Minnesota girls.

“Let’s be open and honest about what sort of savagery we are fighting,” Emmons said. “Female genital mutilation is medically unnecessary and is usually performed to exercise control over a female’s sexuality and to ensure her virginity until marriage.

“These mutilations are usually performed without anesthetic, and victims can have ongoing psychological and physical health consequences, including infection, pain and even death.”

Minnesota, Texas and other states have approved similar legislation.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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