By Lorie Johnson
Maine Democrats voted down a bill that would criminalize the unspeakably barbaric practice known as female genital mutilation.
FGM is exactly as the name suggests. It’s the practice of literally cutting off a young girl’s genitalia. The practice, often administered in secret and without anesthesia, can cause death or debilitating lifelong health complications including painful urination. There is no health benefit whatsoever.
Among other things, the practice usually makes sexual intercourse excruciating and is meant to keep the victim from committing fornication or adultery when she grows up.
FGM has for centuries has been perpetrated mostly in predominantly Muslim cultures and is now increasingly becoming an issue in America, largely among immigrants from countries where the gruesome practice is common.
For example, UNICEF reports 98% of Somali girls are subjected to FGM. Meanwhile, Maine has become home to thousands of Somali refugees.
In fact, studies show approximately 500,000 little girls living in America are at risk of becoming FGM victims, not only those from Somalia but also Ethiopia, Egypt, Guinea, Djibouti and some 25 other countries, according to the World Health Organization, which estimates victims number a heartbreaking 200 million worldwide.
With that in mind, why would Maine lawmakers defeat a bill criminalizing FGM in that state?
Maine State Rep. Charlotte Warren (D) gives us a clue.
In her comments before the house stating why she opposed the measure and urged other lawmakers to as well, the Democrat said FGM isn’t a problem in their state. “The good news is this is not happening in Maine. All of the data is clear. We have spoken with doctors in Lewiston, we have spoken with doctors in Portland. We have spoken with health practitioners from all across the state for more than a year. This is not happening in Maine.”
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