Doctor’s Note: FGM International Day of Zero Tolerance
This week we recognize February 6th as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Senator Dick Black and I are sponsoring legislation that will deter this practice and make it not only a Class 1 Misdemeanor, but also subject to civil suit in Virginia. Over 200 million women worldwide have been violated by this procedure. This is not a procedure performed by medical professionals. It has no medical value and no religious basis. Usually performed on girls 5 to 12, they have no ability to consent or refuse. Virginia is reported to have one of the top 10 populations of women who have fallen victim to FGM. To read more about SB1060, click here.
For more information on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation you can visit this site.
Additional Details About FGM:
We submitted the bill with the punishment initially listed as a felony; however, this created a fiscal impact as a result of the possible cost for incarceration. This in turn threatened the bill’s success in a year where we are working to overcome a revenue shortfall.
The federal legislation that exists allows prosecution as a felony. This legislation makes Virginia one of only two states that allow civil suits, which I believe is very important.
These are procedures performed by non-medical people. Female Genital Mutilation has no medical indication – none. If performed by any licensee in Virginia, they would be held accountable by the Board of Medicine and certainly lose their license to practice.
To the best of our knowledge, FGM procedures are performed outside of the USA when families travel to their country of origin. If the procedure were performed here, we would have both criminal and civil recourse. Additional statutes can also be used in conjunction with this one to increase the criminal offense.
I hope this addresses your concerns about our legislation because I agree with you. This is an egregious and sexist mutilation of a child for which we should have zero tolerance.