While the movement against female genital mutilation (FGM) in the U.S has been dealt several hard-hitting blows over the past two years, it is not defeated! Our efforts to ban FGM in all 50 states have resulted in a number of legislative successes this year.
We are deeply grateful to our supporters who have made these successes possible! Through this year, you garnered support in your own states, alerted and educated legislators, and sent contributions to keep the movement going strong: as a result, this year we saw an overwhelmingly positive response from seven states to our call to ban FGM in the U.S.:
In Arkansas, AHA Foundation worked closely with Senator Breanne Davis, the lead sponsor for the FGM criminalization bill for some of the strongest anti-FGM legislation in the country. The bill language was based on AHA Foundation’s model legislation and included an emergency clause that makes the bill effective 30 days after the signing, versus waiting 90 days. AHA Foundation’s Senior Director, Amanda Parker, attended the ceremonial signing of the bill in March 2019.
While working directly with Representative Ken Ivory in the state of Utah, AHA Foundation provided both verbal and written testimony in favor of Utah’s anti-FGM bill and interviewed with local CBS news affiliate KUTV. This legislation is one of the strongest passed to date and includes provisions for education and outreach and mandatory reporting. Requiring education and outreach ensures that at-risk girls and communities are reached and taught how detrimental FGM is to a girl’s body. AHA Foundation always advocates for these provisions because it increases the likelihood of preventing this practice. It was signed by Governor Gary Herbert in March 2019.
Since 2013, AHA Foundation has worked closely with Representative Thomas Murt to ban FGM in the state of Pennsylvania. As of mid-2019, it became the 34th state in the U.S. to pass anti-FGM legislation. The bill makes FGM a felony offense and AHA Foundation plans on working with Representative Murt in the next legislative session to add an education and outreach provision to the law.
AHA Foundation worked extensively in the state of Idaho to educate local organizations and state lawmakers on FGM and encourage the passage of proposed anti-FGM legislation. The bill was signed into law in March 2019 and took effect on July 1, 2019.
In August of 2019, North Carolina’s governor signed into law a bill that makes FGM a felony offense. AHA Foundation has supported the bill’s sponsor, Senator Joyce Krawiec, since she first began her effort to ban FGM this year.
Earlier in the year, our organization featured Sen. Krawiec at an event at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she and our Senior Director, Amanda Parker, discussed their efforts to combat FGM in the U.S.
In April of 2019, Tennessee legislators passed a bill that significantly strengthens the state’s existing anti-FGM law. These changes were based largely on the state-by-state grading assessment offered by AHA Foundation’s report and our model legislation.
Although this year we faced dangerous setbacks in the fight against FGM, we are committed to banning this child abuse in all 50 states by the end of 2020! We need your help. Please support our campaign Ban FGM in the U.S. by 2020, calling on legislators and supporters in the remaining 15 states and DC to protect women and girls in their states now. Free girls—stop the cut!
Has your state banned FGM yet? Check here.
Write your legislators, ask them to sponsor a bill to criminalize FGM in your state.