Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) applauded the Senate passage of H.R. 6100, the Strengthening the Opposition to Female Genital Mutilation (STOP FGM) Act of 2020, legislation introduced by Representatives Jackson Lee and Don Bacon (R-NE) which ensures that the horrific practice of female genital mutilation of minors is prohibited under federal law. The STOP FGM Act of 2020 was favorably reported out of the Judiciary Committee in March and passed unanimously by the House of Representatives in September. The legislation now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law.
"It is critical that Congress take action to put an end to the heinous crime of female genital mutilation," said Chairman Nadler. "The STOP FGM Act will take the long-overdue steps necessary to protect all women and girls from the practice of FGM and would provide the Justice Department with an effective means of prosecuting those who commit this terrible act. I want to thank Representatives Jackson Lee and Bacon for all their help in getting this bill passed, and I hope to see this important bipartisan legislation signed into law."
"I applaud the Senate for expediting the passage of H.R. 6100 and recognizing the life saving measures that are in the STOP FGM Act. Also, I would like to thank Chairman Jerrold Nadler for his leadership in helping to move this legislation through the Judiciary Committee and on to the House floor. As a lifelong advocate for women, I have worked on initiatives that would eliminate this heinous act all together. FGM has been internationally recognized as a human rights violation which has been performed on at least 200 million girls and women in 31 countries across three continents. Some may think of FGM as occurring only in foreign nations, but this portrayal is completely inaccurate, and we must set the record straight: FGM is practiced right here in the United States and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half a million women and girls in the United States have already suffered from FGM or are at risk of being subjected to FGM in the future. These girls and women will now have the protection they deserve and justice will finally be done to those who exercise this violent practice in the United States," stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
The Strengthening the Opposition to Female Genital Mutilation (STOP FGM) Act of 2020 will:
Adopt a definition of FGM that mirrors the definition adopted by the World Health Organization;
Overturn the misguided decision in United States v. Nagarwala by explicitly stating the constitutional basis for banning FGM, primarily the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution;
Makes it a federal crime to knowingly:
Perform, attempt to perform, or conspire to perform, FGM on a minor;
For parents, guardians, or caretakers to consent to FGM being performed on a minor; or;
To transport a minor for the purpose of the performance of FGM on the minor;
Increase the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of the statute, from 5 years to 10 years; and
Require the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Education, to submit an annual report to Congress which includes:
An estimate of the number of women and girls in the United States at risk of female genital mutilation or who have been subjected to it;
The protections available and actions taken by Federal, State, and local agencies to protect such women and girls; and
The actions taken by Federal agencies to educate and assist communities and key stakeholders about female genital mutilation.
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