ACLU opposes Maine bill criminalizing female genital mutilation



The American Civil Liberties Union launched a vocal opposition this week against a Maine bill criminalizing female genital mutilation (FGM), Mainely Media reports.

Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki is sponsoring the bill, saying that it would classify performing FGM as a Class B crime in the state, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The bill would also punish the parent or guardian of the victim.

However, the Maine ACLU staunchly opposes the protection. ACLU spokesman Oamshri Amarasingham said that the risk of mutilation isnt worth expanding Maines criminal code. The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault also supported the ACLU, arguing that FGM is not happening in Maine.

Sirocki, however, pointed to a 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control, which found 500,000 victims of FGM in the US. Furthermore, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement found that 400 individuals have been arrested and 785 deported for FGM violations nationwide since 2003.

Maine, Sirocki said, is one of the eight highest-risk areas in the US for FGM. The practice has proven to be so rampant in the state that it has received special federal funding to combat it.

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