Tag Archives: FGM

US district judge orders that female genital mutilation case be dropped in historic case

The judge who made this ruling was appointed by Reagan and in 2014 overturned Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

From MSN: A federal judge on Tuesday declared the country’s female genital mutilation law as unconstitutional, dismissing nearly all charges against two doctors in Michigan and others accused of subjecting minor girls to genital cutting at a clinic in Detroit.

The case involves at least nine minors from Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois – some of whom prosecutors alleged were tricked by their mothers into thinking they were going to Detroit for recreational activities before having their genitals cut at the Livonia clinic, The Detroit Free Press reported, citing court records.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala said the practice was custom as part of the young girls’ religion and said the girls belonged to her Muslim sect, the Dawoodi Bohra. She also argued that the federal female genital mutilation law she and others who assisted her were being prosecuted under is unconstitutional.

The U.S. statute at issue states that “whoever knowingly circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person” who is under the age of 18 will face a fine and/or up to five years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman reportedly concluded in the case that the law criminalizing female genital mutilation that Congress passed in 1996 was unconstitutional and said that the regulation of the practice is up to the states.

“As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be … federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute,” Friedman wrote in his opinion of female genital mutilation, abbreviated as FGM.

“Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM … FGM is a ‘local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress,” he added.

As a result of the ruling, charges brought against Nagarwala, those who assisted her and four mothers who took their daughters to the Livonia clinic, were dismissed, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Shannon Smith, Nagarwala’s lawyer, praised the judge’s decision but also said she expects the government to appeal the ruling. “But we are confident we will win even if appealed,” she told the local paper.

However, women’s rights activists are calling the judge’s ruling a setback for the protection of women and girls.

“It’s a giant step backward in the protection of women’s and girls’ rights,” Shelby Quast, the Americas director of equality for the rights organization Equality Now, told The Detroit News. “Especially when there is a global movement to eliminate this practice.”

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New York Times scraps 'female genital mutilation' for being 'culturally loaded' term

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From Fox News: A top New York Times editor decided the paper shouldn’t use the term “female genital mutilation” because the phrase is too “culturally loaded” and widens a divide between the Western world and “people who follow the rite.”
Health and Science editor Celia Dugger said she came to the conclusion to refer to the act of removing the female genitalia of young girls as “genital cutting” during a trip to Africa in the 1990s. She spoke about her decision in a Times mailbag article in response to a reader’s question.
“I never minced words in describing exactly what form of cutting was involved, and there are many gradations of severity, and the terrible damage it did, and stayed away from the euphemistic circumcision, but chose to use the less culturally loaded term, genital cutting,” Dugger wrote. “There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm.”
The term “female genital mutilation” has actually been used by the Times in six articles in 2017, according to a website search; however, the instances are extremely restricted. For instance, two of the mentions occur in the context of a quoted speech or statement, two were in opinion columns, one in a book review and one in the mailbag explanation of why the Times didn’t use the term. The abbreviation “FGM” appeared this year only in stories taken from wire services such as The Associated Press and Reuters.
The Daily Caller was one of the first organizations to draw attention to the Times’ practice; however, groups as ideologically opposite as the United Nations Population Fund have also written about the potential danger in referring to genital mutilation as “cutting.”
“UNFPA embraces a human rights perspective on the issue, and the term ‘female genital mutilation’ more accurately describes the practice from a human rights viewpoint,” a question-and-answer section of the UNFPA website says.
UNFPA estimates some 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, and though the procedure is typically practiced in African or Middle Eastern cultures, it’s spreading westward. Nearly 6,000 reported cases occurred in Britain from April 2015 to March 2016, according to the Health and Social Care Information Center, and, in the U.S., an Islamic doctor in Michigan was charged earlier this month with performing the procedure on a pair of 7-year-old girls.
The New York Times said the doctor had been “accused of performing genital cutting” in its version of the story.
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