3/01/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,
If any issue could bring lawmakers and activists on both sides of the political aisle together, one would think it would be protecting young girls from the most heinous forms of child abuse.
But unfortunately, that was not the case this week as the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held a public hearing on two Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) bills.
At the public hearing, Committee Chairs, RINO Sen. Kimberly Rosen of Hancock and Democrat Rep. Charlotte Warren of Hallowell allowed ad hominem personal insults against one of the bill sponsors, Scarborough Republican, Rep. Heather Sirocki.
A contingent of radical Leftists complained they wanted education money to combat FGM, but strenuously opposed any penalties for subjecting young girls to this violent crime.
You can listen to clips of some of the heated testimony in the video below. Warning, the video contains graphic images.
In particular, the Leftist activists objected to the fact that it was a white woman who was fighting so hard to defend immigrant girls against this life-long emotionally and physically scarring practice.
While multiple female foreigners continued to bully Rep. Sirocki for not being willing to even meet with immigrants — Rep. Sirocki was in fact, in another room, with an immigrant who she invited to speak as a guest at the hearing.
Another speaker claimed to be against FGM, but out of her next breath spoke against the ban bill because she personally disapproves of Rep. Sirocki and some organizations supporting the banning of FGM.
This woman put her hatred for her political opposition above the protection of young girls.
A common argument from the radical Leftist speakers was to say if FGM is banned, so should any form of non-health related surgery performed on the female genitalia.
Labiaplasty was often mentioned as an example. Labiaplasty is the reduction of the size of the woman’s labia minora.
However, in reality, there is no equivalence between this and FGM.
A labiaplasty procedure is done voluntarily and can be for both cosmetic and health reasons. A woman could be unhappy with the look of her vaginal area, in this case, it is no different than having breast implants. However, the woman’s labia could be large and causing irritation, in which case, it’s no different than having a breast reduction due to back pain.
Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, labiaplasty has no life-long emotional scarring or negative health impacts the way FGM does. It is not a daily reminder of one of the worst experiences of the woman’s life the was FGM is.
A representative from the Marxist Pedophile Authority (otherwise known as Maine People’s Alliance) was in attendance and — to the shock of no one — continued its trend of protecting criminals over victims by objecting to banning FGM on the grounds of, “racism.”
Chair Warren was in and out of the hearing. However, both she and Chair Rosen continuously allowed these agitators to violate the rules of the hearing and bloviate well beyond their allotted three minutes.
And what was so important they needed extra time? Personally attacking Rep. Sirocki and other white people who want to end FGM.
On one occasion, the Chairs even allowed one immigrant — who had already had a turn to speak earlier in the hearing — to interrupt, grab the mic and add further comments blasting Rep. Sirocki.
It is the responsibility of the Chairs to maintain order in these public hearings. The Chairs failed to do so on this day. As the hearing descended into near chaos, not once was anyone admonished, not once was anyone gaveled down. Not once was anyone cut off for going beyond their time limit.
Sen. Rosen did once mention between speakers that it’s uncomfortable for committee members to enforce the clock and asked everyone to please mind their time. Her request was ignored. Nothing was done about it.
One witness at the hearing told Maine First Media Rep. Warren appeared to be smiling while listening to the frequent attacks on Rep. Sirocki.
A lawmaker described the hearing to Maine First Media as, “a shit-show.”
Maine First Media asked Rep. Sirocki for comment on the attacks. Instead of getting in the mud with her detractors, Rep. Sirocki stayed focused on her mission to protect Maine’s young girls.
“While it is true there were inappropriate and counter-productive personal attacks on my character — and that my motives were questioned at the contentious public hearing for the anti-female genital mutilation bill, LD 1819,” Rep. Sirocki said. “It is also true that there is strong support to come together to craft a clear bill that will help deter this human rights violation. FGM is a crime that is also considered to be a form of child abuse.”
Rep. Sirocki says she agrees with the United Nations stance of “zero tolerance,” for Female Genital Mutilation.
You can click here to see Rep. Sirocki’s full testimony in support of LD1819.
Before the Maine Pedophile Authority and other radical Leftists turned the second half of the hearing into an example of political theater at it’s worst, the first half of the hearing was relatively constructive as committee members sought information to help them consolidate two bills into one.
It was announced at the beginning of the session; it was the goal of the committee to only advance one bill, not the Republican bill, not the Democrat bill, but the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee bill.
Both bill sponsors, Rep. Sirocki (LD 1819) and Democrat Rep. Barbara Cardone of Bangor (LD1822) welcomed the committee’s decision to advance a single, non-partisan bill with a high likelihood of passing.
Last year, Rep. Sirocki sponsored another FGM ban, which fell just short of passage as many Democrats voted against the ban. Click here for a roll call of the vote. Yeas are votes to kill the bill.
Below is a summary of the basic differences between the two bills.
- GOP – Penalties for all accomplices specifically spelled out. Dem – Accomplices not charged.
- GOP – Allows for sealed records to be used in investigations of accomplices. Dem – Would not allow for records to be unsealed.
- GOP – Penalties for bringing a minor across stateliness for FGM. Dem – Does not deal with the crossing of state lines.
- GOP – Money not set aside for education. Dem – Money set aside for educating at-risk communities, victims and medical facilities on FGM.
- GOP – Bill extends the statute of limitations to 25 years old. Dem – No mention of a statute of limitation extension.
The transporting issue is especially crucial because currently in New England, only Rhode Island has outlawed FGM.
New Hampshire unanimously passed a very strict ban recently; however, it’s not yet been implemented.
Our neighbors in Massachusetts have no FGM ban, making it an ideal place for transporting poor, young girl to be victims of FGM.
The ability to unseal records for investigating instances of FGM is also of critical importance. Due to the migrant status of potential new FGM victims, some may not have birth certificates. Prosecutors need to have an accurate birthdate for the victim in order to try the case.
Judging by the questions asked by committee members, we can speculate, to a degree, on how the final committee bill might look.
- The committee bill will likely clean up some of the language to be more specific about what is defined as FGM, so as not to be confused with any potentially needed medical procedures.
- The GOP statute of limitations extension to 25 will likely be kept.
- The Dem provision to fund education will likely make the final bill.
- The GOP bill’s penalties for accomplices appear to have more support than the Democrats’ alternative of ambiguous (if any) penalties for accomplices — although that is still very much in question.
- The remaining questions — and possibly the two most significant sticking — points will be the provisions about prosecuting across state lines and the ability to unseal records to assist with prosecutions.
According to Rep. Sirocki, banning FGM will bring Maine in line with the trend around the country.
This bill would help Maine join 26 other states that prohibit the act of female genital mutilation,” Rep. Sirocki said. “There are currently 12 states that specifically criminalize all persons that may be involved, including the person performing the procedure, the person transporting the child out of the state, and /or the person caring for the child that permits or pays for the act of FGM to occur. Five states have also established state-funded outreach and education programs to serve as a deterrent.”
The public hearing turned emotional when FGM survivor, F.A. Cole delivered an incredibly moving and emotional testimony.
In the video below, you can watch Cole literally fight through a panic attack to share her tale and explain why so many victims of FGM are terrified to speak out against the barbaric act.
Cole also weighed in on the personal attacks calling Rep. Sirocki Islamophobic and racist for bringing attention to the child-abuse ritual that is FGM.
“I was actually appalled (by the attack). This is somebody (Rep. Sirocki) who didn’t go through Female Genital Mutilation. Who doesn’t have any kids to protect from Female Genital Mutilation. She’s doing this to protect immigrant children — girls she may never even meet during her lifetime. But yet, there are still people out there who are trying to tarnish her character…they’re making it about her and forgetting about the little girls that are really the concern.”
Cole went on to say, “if she’s (Rep. Sirocki) is a mean white woman, then I want to be a mean black woman and join her in fighting to protect these girls.”
Unfortunately, Cole didn’t receive a warm reception from all of the committee members.
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland insensitively took the opportunity to grill Cole about her knowledge of any FGM happening in Maine.
Cole does not live in Maine and is not the same nationality as any of Maine’s immigrant population. Cole explains that because of those reasons, she would have no reasonable way of knowing how prevalent the problem is here in the Pine Tree State.
However, that didn’t stop the disrespectful Rep. Talbot Ross from interrogating the FGM survivor and even attempting on multiple occasions to put words in Cole’s mouth as you can hear toward the end of the above video.
After Cole explained, she’d “bet her life,” that if Maine has a large immigrant population from countries where FGM is a heavily practiced, it IS going on here — Talbot Ross said, “but not here in Maine.” Cole’s entire point was that she doesn’t PERSONALLY know of any in Maine, but that it happens all over American. It happens anywhere with large immigrant communities from FGM countries, which certainly qualifies Maine.
But again, Rep. Talbot Ross twisted the FGM survivor’s words to suit her own political purpose.
A study by the Population Reference Bureau found incidents of Female Genital Mutilation doubled from 2005-2015.
The report found more than 500,000 women are either victims of or at risk of Female Genital Mutilation – including more than 160,000 girls under the age of 18.
Female Genital Mutilation is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. In some cultures, the vulva is sewn shut, only to be ripped open on the woman’s wedding night.
The practice is designed to curb sexual desire in women.
Along with significant health risk to the young girls, women who suffer Female Genital Mutilation are left with life-long physical and emotional scarring.
Maine First Media will continue to cover this story as it develops.