Stop FGM in Massachusetts!
UPDATE: Success! On 6 August 2020, the Governor of Massachusetts signed Bill H4606 "An Act Relative to the Penalties for the crime of Female Genital Mutilation" into law.
The Bill had been passed by the Senate on 30th July after it had received a favorable vote in the House. The law criminalizes FGM and also includes provisions for education and prevention programs on this harmful practice. Equality Now's partner Sahiyo and its Executive Director Mariya Taher were instrumental in efforts to pass the Bill through advocacy and providing testimony to Congress.
FGM is recognized by the federal government as violence and a form of child abuse and internationally as a human rights violation, constituting torture, and an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. FGM has no health benefits, it only causes harm, and more than half of U.S. states already have laws against it. In order to protect women and girls, every state needs to ban FGM. Massachusetts could be the next state to do so!
In January, Bill H.4606 was introduced in Massachusetts and was subsequently referred to the Joint Judiciary Committee. This bill would criminalize FGM in Massachusetts, provide for community education on the subject, and allow those who had been victims of FGM to seek a civil remedy.
Do More: Equality Now serves on the inaugural steering committee member of the brand new U.S. End FGM/C Network, and the Network is accepting applications for membership. If you or your organization would like to learn more, you can find an application here.