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In the US, more than 513,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Typically, women and girls are subjected to FGM before moving to the US, or if born in the US, they could be in serious danger of being subjected to it during vacations to their families’ countries of origin - a practice known as “vacation cutting.”

Performed around the world - most often on girls under the age of nine - FGM involves the removal and damage of healthy normal female genital tissue for non-medical reasons, leading to severe and lifelong health consequences, and sometimes, death. It is frequently rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood and a prerequisite to marriage, but in reality is a human rights violation used to control girls’ and women’s sexuality and a serious form of child abuse.

Federal US laws and policies recognize FGM as an extreme form of violence against women and girls. It is illegal to perform FGM in the US as well as to take a girl outside of the US for the purpose of FGM. Several US agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Education, Homeland Security and State have taken steps to implement the law and raise awareness on the issue. We applaud these efforts but more must be done to protect at-risk women and girls at the national and state level and to effectively train national and federal actors on what to do.

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Eliminating FGM in the US requires a comprehensive government-wide strategy that includes continued engagement with survivors, diaspora and local civil society organizations; education and provision of support and services to survivors at federal, state and local levels; and sustainable funding. Federal agencies also need to encourage and support state efforts to end FGM at local levels. A growing number of states have a law against FGM, but not all of them have closed the loophole for “vacation cutting.” States need to enact and strengthen laws to reflect federal law so that at-risk women and girls can access protections and support at local levels.

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls’ call to protect at-risk girls in the US and to ensure much-needed support and services for those living with the consequences of FGM.

  • Call on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure efforts to address FGM are clearly prioritized in all child protection efforts and effective training is provided for all child protection and child welfare officers.
  • If you live in the United States, check our map to see whether your state has a law against FGM. If not, please contact your state representatives and urge them to enact laws and policies in line with the federal anti-FGM law. Find your state representatives and use our letter or one of your own.
  • If your state has a law against FGM, does it also prohibit “vacation cutting”? You can check our Fact Sheet for specifics of your state’s FGM law. If it doesn’t, contact your state elected officials and urge them to add a provision to ban it.
  • Know the facts - learn more about FGM in the US.

Letters should go to:

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Secretary@HHS.gov  

*This action was originally issued in 2015

Country: 
All letters: 
2500
Categories new : 
Hero Title: 
US: Protect women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Hero image: 
Letter Body: 

Dear Secretary Price,

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons – violates federal law, as well as girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity and freedom from discrimination and torture. According to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, up to 513,000 girls and women in the United States have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to this human rights violation!

The US has committed to addressing FGM domestically and abroad. The US Government Factsheet on FGM or Cutting states that:

  • FGM has no health benefits and can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems.
  • The US Government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity and no matter what the motivation for performing it.
  • The US Government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender-based violence and child abuse.

In its 2016 report, the Government Accountability Office recommended that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop and distribute a written plan that describes the agency’s approach for conducting education and outreach to key stakeholders in the US regarding FGM.

I am calling on you to prioritize FGM in all HHS child protection programs and within the Children’s Bureau. This includes raising awareness and providing much-needed training around FGM, developed in collaboration with survivors, diaspora and civil society organizations for child welfare and protection specialists, at the federal and state levels.

Please prioritize an end to FGM and provide much-needed support and services for those living with its damaging consequences.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

 

Letter to state representatives:

Dear   ,

Please stand up for women and girls in your state by ensuring that laws protect them from female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM - the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons - violates girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity and freedom from discrimination and torture. However, according to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, up to 513,000 girls and women in the US have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to FGM.

US laws and policies recognize FGM as a human rights violation, child abuse and an extreme form of violence against girls and women. Federal laws prohibit performing FGM in the US as well as transporting girls out of the country to undergo FGM (known as “vacation cutting”). A growing number of states have a law against FGM, though not all of them have closed the “vacation cutting” loophole.

It is critical that all states enact legislation against both, supported by education and awareness raising among child protection, child welfare and medical specialists to protect women and girls in the US who are at risk of FGM or who are living with its consequences.

I call on you to review your state’s legislation to ensure your state’s law is in line with federal law and that your state’s policies provide for education, awareness raising, protection and support for affected women and girls. If your state does not have a law, please enact strong legislation against this human rights violation as a matter of priority. This will send a strong message that your state is committed to protecting human rights by preventing child abuse and violence against women and girls.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Salsa Id: 
25105
Action Date: 
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Action Status: 
Letters Sent (Auto): 
6
All Letters Sent (Auto): 
1006

In the US, more than 513,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Typically, women and girls are subjected to FGM before moving to the US, or if born in the US, they could be in serious danger of being subjected to it during vacations to their families’ countries of origin - a practice known as “vacation cutting.”

Performed around the world - most often on girls under the age of nine - FGM involves the removal and damage of healthy normal female genital tissue for non-medical reasons, leading to severe and lifelong health consequences, and sometimes, death. It is frequently rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood and a prerequisite to marriage, but in reality is a human rights violation used to control girls’ and women’s sexuality and a serious form of child abuse.

Federal US laws and policies recognize FGM as an extreme form of violence against women and girls. It is illegal to perform FGM in the US as well as to take a girl outside of the US for the purpose of FGM. Several US agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Education, Homeland Security and State have taken steps to implement the law and raise awareness on the issue. We applaud these efforts but more must be done to protect at-risk women and girls at the national and state level and to effectively train national and federal actors on what to do.

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Eliminating FGM in the US requires a comprehensive government-wide strategy that includes continued engagement with survivors, diaspora and local civil society organizations; education and provision of support and services to survivors at federal, state and local levels; and sustainable funding. Federal agencies also need to encourage and support state efforts to end FGM at local levels. A growing number of states have a law against FGM, but not all of them have closed the loophole for “vacation cutting.” States need to enact and strengthen laws to reflect federal law so that at-risk women and girls can access protections and support at local levels.

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls’ call to protect at-risk girls in the US and to ensure much-needed support and services for those living with the consequences of FGM.

  • Call on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure efforts to address FGM are clearly prioritized in all child protection efforts and effective training is provided for all child protection and child welfare officers.
  • If you live in the United States, check our map to see whether your state has a law against FGM. If not, please contact your state representatives and urge them to enact laws and policies in line with the federal anti-FGM law. Find your state representatives and use our letter or one of your own.
  • If your state has a law against FGM, does it also prohibit “vacation cutting”? You can check our Fact Sheet for specifics of your state’s FGM law. If it doesn’t, contact your state elected officials and urge them to add a provision to ban it.
  • Know the facts - learn more about FGM in the US.

Letters should go to:

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Secretary@HHS.gov  

*This action was originally issued in 2015

Dear Secretary Price,

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons – violates federal law, as well as girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity and freedom from discrimination and torture. According to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, up to 513,000 girls and women in the United States have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to this human rights violation!

The US has committed to addressing FGM domestically and abroad. The US Government Factsheet on FGM or Cutting states that:

  • FGM has no health benefits and can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems.
  • The US Government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity and no matter what the motivation for performing it.
  • The US Government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender-based violence and child abuse.

In its 2016 report, the Government Accountability Office recommended that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop and distribute a written plan that describes the agency’s approach for conducting education and outreach to key stakeholders in the US regarding FGM.

I am calling on you to prioritize FGM in all HHS child protection programs and within the Children’s Bureau. This includes raising awareness and providing much-needed training around FGM, developed in collaboration with survivors, diaspora and civil society organizations for child welfare and protection specialists, at the federal and state levels.

Please prioritize an end to FGM and provide much-needed support and services for those living with its damaging consequences.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

 

Letter to state representatives:

Dear   ,

Please stand up for women and girls in your state by ensuring that laws protect them from female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM - the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons - violates girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity and freedom from discrimination and torture. However, according to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, up to 513,000 girls and women in the US have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to FGM.

US laws and policies recognize FGM as a human rights violation, child abuse and an extreme form of violence against girls and women. Federal laws prohibit performing FGM in the US as well as transporting girls out of the country to undergo FGM (known as “vacation cutting”). A growing number of states have a law against FGM, though not all of them have closed the “vacation cutting” loophole.

It is critical that all states enact legislation against both, supported by education and awareness raising among child protection, child welfare and medical specialists to protect women and girls in the US who are at risk of FGM or who are living with its consequences.

I call on you to review your state’s legislation to ensure your state’s law is in line with federal law and that your state’s policies provide for education, awareness raising, protection and support for affected women and girls. If your state does not have a law, please enact strong legislation against this human rights violation as a matter of priority. This will send a strong message that your state is committed to protecting human rights by preventing child abuse and violence against women and girls.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

TAKE ACTION

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