Michigan Senate poised to pass female genital mutilation bills
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - The Minnesota State House on Monday passed a bill imposing tougher penalties on parents who mutilate their little girls.
This week, the Michigan Senate is expected to vote on similar legislation.
Female genital mutilation is a procedure that is already illegal. It has been since 1996, but lawmakers say it still happens.
Experts say Michigan and Minnesota are hot spots for female genital mutilation, also known as FGM.
The feds charged two Detroit-area doctors in connection with procedures performed on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota. The situation is under investigation.
"A victim from Minnesota was brought to the state of Michigan to a doctor to do female genital mutilation," said Michigan State Sen. Rick Jones (R). "This is a evil horrific practice usually against little girls and it's done so they don't have any sexual pleasure the rest of their life."
Sen. Jones wants to increase federal mutilation penalties from a five year penalty to a fifteen year penalty behind bars.
"This is not a religious practice," he said. "This is controlling woman."
The Michigan Senate will vote on Sens. Jone's and Margaret O'Brien bills as soon as Tuesday.
"To the men in the body, I ask what if it was the culture to completely take off your penis?" asked State Rep. Marty Franson on the Minnesota House Floor on Monday.
Rep. Mary Franson authored a bill in the North Star State to protect Minnesota girls from FGM.
"The Center for Disease Control has said there is 513,000 little girls at risk in the United States on this," said Rep. Franson.
Right after her appeal to lawmakers on the Minnesota House floor, Franson told us she cried herself to sleep when she heard the story of a woman who was mutilated as a little girl.
"Her arms were tied down," said Franson. "There was no anesthesia used. She said she thought she had died or she has passed out it was so painful. When she woke up and there was blood all around."
Only four Minnesota lawmakers voted against Franson's bill.
One lawmakers feared making FGM a felony would open the flood gates for deporting immigrants.
"I don't know a lot about immigration law, but I do know that having a felony makes a person deportable," said State Rep. Tina Liebling, a Democrat.
Rep. Franson told WWMT the Minnesota Senate has been silent on the issue of FGM.
That is not the case in the Michigan Senate.
Sens. Jones and Tonya Schuitmaker are not expecting opposition to their bills on protecting girls from FGM.
The Michigan Senate is expected to give the Republican lawmakers' bills approval on Wednesday.