D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) recently introduced the Female Genital Mutilation Prohibition Act of 2019 to broadly prohibit the act of female genital mutilation in the District and, as importantly, prohibits a parent, guardian or conservator from removing a person under their care from the District for the purpose of facilitating female genital mutilation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of girls and women living in the U.S. who have undergone or been at risk of this practice has tripled over the past two decades.
Cheh’s legislation takes aim at prohibiting the procedure.
“Female genital mutilation is a practice with no valid medical purpose that can cause extensive harm to both the physical and mental well-being of young women,” Cheh said. “The District must keep pace with other states in our region and across the country by further restricting and penalizing this practice to ensure that we are in no way a destination or accommodating jurisdiction for this procedure.”
Although rarely performed in the U.S., girls remain at risk as they are taken abroad by a caregiver to areas where this practice is performed. Over time, more than half of states have passed laws specifically prohibiting female genital mutilation, many explicitly prohibiting the removal of a person from the U.S. for the purpose of facilitating this practice. These laws help ensure that no woman is subjected to this practice, whether in their home country or abroad.
Council members Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Gray, Elissa Silverman and David Grosso joined Cheh as co-introducers.