Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed several bills into law Tuesday, increasing the penalties for female genital mutilation.
Of the 13 bills he signed into law, one of the bills he signed would classify female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan as a felony that carries a penalty of up to 15 years behind bars, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“Those who commit these horrendous crimes should be held accountable for their actions, and these bills stiffen the penalties for offenders while providing additional support to victims,” Snyder said. “This legislation is an important step toward eliminating this despicable practice in Michigan while empowering victims to find healing and justice.”
The penalty under the new law is much stricter than the federal law banning the practice, which only carries a five-year prison sentence.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the practice of FGM is seen by some Muslim sects in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East as a religious ritual and involves cutting or removing parts of female genitalia. Often, the rationale among these sects is to make women “discouraged” from having sex outside of marriage.