If there were any issue that Republicans and Democrats could agree on in the current, brutal political climate, one might think it would be female genital mutilation and the need to ban it.
Not a chance.
In Minnesota, a bill that would ban the practice, known as “female circumcision” in places such as Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Third World, was passed overwhelmingly in the House but died in the Senate.
Now in Maine, a similar bill, LD 745, is being put up for a second vote in the state house after failing in late June. The state Senate passed the bill but the House rejected it, forcing another vote on an amended bill set for July 20.
In both states, it is primarily progressive Democrats pushing back against the criminalization of FGM. Many have even refrained from calling the practice what it is – female genital mutilation – opting for the more sanitized “genital cutting” or “female circumcision.”
The issue of FGM has been front and center since two doctors – Fakhruddin Attar and Jumana Nagarwala – were arrested in April in the Detroit area and charged with mutilating the genitals of two 7-year-old Somali girls, who were delivered to the doctors by their parents in Minnesota.
In the Detroit case, the attorney for Nagarwala has already announced she will argue her client’s case on the basis of religious freedom – that it is her client’s right to carry out the procedure on little girls because it is part of their religious beliefs and, therefore, protected by the First Amendment. full story