A Republican-backed bill in the Minnesota House that would expand criminal penalties for female genital mutilation has yet to receive so much as a committee hearing.
The bill was introduced January 24 by Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) and has 17 Republican cosponsors, but not a single Democratic cosponsor.
As The Minnesota Sun reported when the bill was first introduced, Franson’s legislation would expand the criminal definition of female genital mutilation to include punishments for parents who subject their children to the practice.
Under current Minnesota law, it is illegal for doctors to perform female genital mutilation, but there are no penalties in place for the parents.
Franson’s bill would make it a felony for any “parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible or charged with the care or custody of a minor who knowingly allows the circumcision, excision, or infibulation, in whole or in part, of the labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris of the minor.”
The bill, however, has struggled to get a committee hearing in the Democratic-controlled House. It was first referred to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee upon introduction, but was then recalled and re-referred to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee on January 31.
Since then, that committee, chaired by Rep. Carlos Mariani (D-St. Paul), has yet to schedule a hearing for Franson’s bill. Mariani’s committee has held 20 meetings since receiving Franson’s bill.
Franson spoke Monday at a United Nations panel in New York on addressing female genital mutilation, and sat down with Fox News to discuss her bill.
“This is about the saving of girls. This is about protecting the health and dignity of those girls. Female genital mutilation is a brutal, violent act and we need to make sure that we are putting every step forward to protect these girls,” she said. “If a mother or a father or somebody in the family decides to put this child through this act, they need to be held accountable.”
The full interview can be watched here:
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mary Franson” by Mary Franson. Photo “Carlos Mariani” by Carlos Mariani.