What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage.

The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause a number of health problems. Immediately following the procedure, girls are at risk of severe pain, shock, bleeding, bacterial infection, and injury to nearby tissue. In the long term, girls and women who have suffered this procedure are at risk of recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, and complications during intercourse and childbirth. Psychological issues resulting from the trauma of the procedure are also possible.


FGM is a Reality in the U.S.

The number of girls under 18 at risk of FGM in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1997. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM in the U.S.

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage.

The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause a number of health problems. Immediately following the procedure, girls are at risk of severe pain, shock, bleeding, bacterial infection, and injury to nearby tissue. In the long term, girls and women who have suffered this procedure are at risk of recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, and complications during intercourse and childbirth. Psychological issues resulting from the trauma of the procedure are also possible.


FGM is a Reality in the U.S.

The number of girls under 18 at risk of FGM in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1997. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM in the U.S.

FGM has been a crime under federal law since 1996 and is punishable by up to five years in prison. In 2013, the Transport for Female Genital Mutilation Act amended this law to outlaw “vacation cutting,” the practice of taking a girl overseas for the procedure.


FGM is not a crime in 24 states shown in grey

FGM is not a crime
in these 24 states


  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming