Two Small Words Are Slowing Female Genital Mutilation Ban Bill Progress

3/14/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

The average person would assume passing a ban on a horrific cultural practice that tortures little girls would be a relatively easy and bipartisan proposition.

However, that’s not the case in Augusta.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee members still have not reached an agreement on a final version of a Female Genital Mutilation Ban bill.

A stalemate was reached Monday following a more than three-hour work session, as committee members attempt to consolidate two separate FGM Ban bills.

The sticking points appear to be largely centered around wording.

Democrats on the committee are rejecting the word “mutilation,” preferring instead “circumcision, excision, or infibulation.”

However, using “mutilation” prevents FGM supporters from splitting hairs with the language and finding a loophole allowing the barbaric practice to continue.

It looks at this point like the education portion of the Democrats plan will make the final version of the bill. But there is debate over the words, “may” and “shall.” The original language said the Department of Health and Humane Services “may” develop an outreach and education program.

It appears “may” will now change to “shall” in the final version.

The difference is, “may” allows for DHHS discretion on funding the outreach and education program, whereas “shall” forces DHHS funding.

At one point it looked like penalties for parents, guardians or whoever the consenting adult permitting the scarring procedure would be lifted.

However, one of the original bill sponsors, Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough reiterated the importance of making sure any accomplices to the crime face stiff penalties, pointing out the transporting and mutilation would not happen without parent or guardian consent.

Rep. Sirocki tells Maine First Media there are still many moving parts to be figured out.

Another work session will be held this week, and it is expected we’ll know much more about what the final FGM Ban bill coming out of committee will look like at that point.

Maine First Media will continue to cover this bill as it makes its way through the legislature.

  • Rep. Sirocki is right on the importance of making sure any accomplices face stiff penalties. The one sticking point that makes it clear that the Left-wing Dems really don’t want this bill to pass is the outreach and deterrent program. First they claim FGM doesn’t happen in ME. If that’s the case, why do we need an education component? Stop the nonsense please and pass a bill that has some strict deterrence to it.

  • The parents, guardians, and transporters are those most responsible for this horrific act and must face real penalties as well as the cutter. If anything, the penalties are not harsh enough. Put a couple parents in jail and watch how fast and effective that education will be. What would the left have us do? Hand out pamphlets that tells folks that cutting up their daughters is wrong costing Maine a few million? Oh sure…

  • If anyone on the left had the courage to open their eyes and see, they would understand how horrific fgm really is. I have not seen mutilated little girls in my volunteer work with refugees. What I have seen is women, who suffer extremely every time they have a period. So many experience uti’s, and other infections. So much pain! In 2006 when I began my work, so of the Dr’s and workers did not even know what they were facing, when trying to treat these women. My heart is breaking for all of them and this must not be allowed in Maine.

  • FGM is mutilation. It is not an operation to improve the health of the child. It is not circumsicion. That just removes excess skin. It is the removal of significant parts of female genitalia. That is a crime perpetuated on a very young child. If a father or adult brother touches a child’s private area, said individual would be sentenced to jail. Here parents are forcing their daughter to be mutilated and its not a crime? The state of Maine must protect children from abuse! Perhaps we need to pressure those representatives to reconsider their foolish ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *