WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Senate unanimously passed the Strengthening the Opposition to Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2020 (STOP FGM Act of 2020) delivering the gift of protection to vulnerable young women and girls across the United States.
This critical legislation gives federal law enforcement the ability to prosecute perpetrators of female genital mutilation (FGM), increases the penalty from five years to ten years imprisonment, and requires government agencies to estimate the number of women and girls impacted by or at risk of FGM in the U.S. and report their actions taken to end the practice.
Female genital mutilation is the cutting or removal of female genitals for non-medical purposes. This heinous practice has no health benefits and brings lifelong physical and psychological consequences to women and girls. There are an estimated half a million girls at risk of this horrible practice in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We applaud Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) for bringing this legislation to life and reaching across the aisle in a bipartisan way to work with her colleague Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE) to make this bill a reality.
We are grateful for the leadership of senators like Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who have long championed this issue and worked diligently to stand up for women and girls.
“In an incredibly difficult year, the little girls in our country who are vulnerable to this painful practice were not forgotten. The STOP FGM Act is a strong bill that makes it clear that in this country, we do not tolerate this practice, and we will not stand idly by as girls are cut,” says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, founder of AHA Foundation and FGM survivor.
“The STOP FGM Act will finally offer young women and girls stronger protection from the horror of female genital mutilation. No girl should ever have to face this in her lifetime. The bipartisan nature of this legislation shows that when it comes to the safety of young girls, politics shouldn’t matter,” says Andrea G. Bottner, Senior Advisor to the Independent Women’s Forum.
Independent Women’s Voice and The AHA Foundation call upon President Donald Trump to sign this legislation into law and offer protection and relief for vulnerable young women and girls in the years to come.
For more information on FGM in the U.S., click here.
Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being.
The AHA Foundation raises funds and leads programs to protect women from honor violence, to advance freedom of speech in public debate and to support the work of Muslim reformers.