Legislature should act on genital mutilation bill

People have a right to their beliefs. What they do not have is a right to torture and maim little girls.

Minnesota State Rep. Mary Franson is vehemently opposed to the practice of female genital mutilation, which occurs in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It is a cultural or religious practice. She plans to re-introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would attempt to ban the practice in Minnesota.

“I will never stop fighting for the safety of little girls, and will keep working to put an end to this barbaric practice and punish parents who subject their daughters to these horrors,” she says.

Franson deserves 100 percent support from her fellow House members as well as lawmakers in the Senate.

The issue does have relevance here. A federal judge recently ruled that Congress lacks the authority to regulate female genital mutilation, but states can do so under laws that criminalize sexual battery and abuse. The judge dismissed a criminal case against a Michigan doctor accused of cutting nine girls, including from Minnesota.

It is currently a felony in Minnesota to perform a mutilation, but the actions of the parents are not properly addressed. Under Franson’s bill, parents could be more severly punished, and have their children taken away.

If your parents want to torture you and maim you for life, it does not matter that their culture or religion says they can and should. Civilized society should say they cannot. Just as it says you cannot beat, rape, enslave or kill a child. Or anyone else, for that matter.

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