Draft Model FGM Legislation

Summary

This policy criminalizes the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. The World Health Organization reports that FGM does not have any health benefits and causes serious physical and psychological health problems.

Draft Model FGM Legislation

Draft Model FGM Legislation

  1. As used in this section, female genital mutilation shall mean all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or any harmful procedure to the female genitalia, including but not limited to any of the following:
    1. clitoridectomy,
    2. the partial or total removal of the clitoris or the prepuce,
    3. excision or the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora,
    4. infibulation or the narrowing of the vaginal orifice with the creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris,
    5. pricking, piercing, incising, or scraping, and cauterizing the genital area: or
    6. all other actions intended to alter the structure or function of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
  1. Any person:
  2. who commits female genital mutilation on a female under 18 years of age; or
  3. who is a parent, guardian, or has immediate custody or control of a female under 18 years of age and consents to, permits, or facilitates female genital mutilation of such female; or
  4. who removes or causes or permits or facilitates the removal of a female under 18 years of age from this state for the purpose of female genital mutilation of such female

shall be guilty of female genital mutilation and shall be punished by imprisonment for a                                 term of X years (refer to notes below).

  1. It is not a defense to female genital mutilation that the conduct described in section B

is required as a matter of religion, custom, ritual or standard practice, or that the individual on whom it is performed or the individual’s parent or guardian consented to the procedure.

  1. A surgical procedure is not a violation of section B if the procedure is performed by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical professional and is:
  2. necessary to preserve or protect the physical health of the person on whom it is performed; or
  3. for sex reassignment as requested by the patient.
  4. In addition to criminal penalties, a violation of this section by a licensed medical professional shall result in the permanent revocation of said license.
  5. The Public Health Commissioner shall
  6. develop and administer a program of community education, prevention and outreach activities regarding the health risks and emotional trauma inflicted by the practice of female genital mutilation and informing the community of the criminal penalties for committing female genital mutilation.
  7. develop and disseminate information regarding female genital mutilation, recognizing the risk factors associated with female genital mutilation, and the signs that an individual may be a victim of female genital mutilation, and the criminal penalties for committing female genital mutilation to teachers, and law enforcement personnel, and ensuring their awareness and compliance with the provisions of this section.
  8. develop policies and procedures to promote partnerships between departments, agencies, and political subdivisions, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Children and Families, and Department of Education, and other governmental entities and non-governmental organizations to prevent female genital mutilation and to protect and provide assistance to victims of female genital mutilation.
  9. outline best practices for responses to victims.
  10. develop policies and procedures for the training of providers of health services:
    1. regarding best practices for responses to victims, and
    2. to recognize:
  • the risk factors associated with female genital mutilation,
  • the signs that an individual may be a victim of female genital mutilation, and
  • the criminal penalties for committing female genital mutilation.
  1. A mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered female genital mutilation, or is at substantial risk of female genital mutilation, shall immediately notify the appropriate department orally and in a written report within 48 hours.
  2. If a victim of female genital mutilation is under the age of 18 at the time the crime is committed, the period of limitation for prosecution shall not commence until the victim has reached the age of 18 or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs earlier.
  3. Healthcare practitioners of each county shall keep annual statistics and report to the Department of Health cases of female genital mutilation. The Department of Health shall thereafter compile an annual report of the incidents reported, which will be published with no personal identifying information.

Please note the following:

  • The language and structure above may need modification to fit each state’s code.
  • The crime of female genital mutilation should be a felony offense and penalties should be greater than or equal to the state’s penalties for aggravated assault.
  • Where code outlines specific requirements for law enforcement licensure, an individual seeking to be licensed shall complete training that is designed to assist law enforcement officers in assessing situations that may involve female genital mutilation. The training required must include, but need not be limited to, education on what is female genital mutilation, the risk factors associated with female genital mutilation, the signs that an individual may be a victim of female genital mutilation, the criminal penalties for committing female genital mutilation, and the psychological and health effects on a victim of female genital mutilation.
  • Criminal statute of limitations may not need to be extended depending on existing state law. The AHA Foundation recommends extending the statute of limitations when necessary to at least 10 years following the 18th birthday of the victim.