Ban FGM | Letter

Our state legislature just failed to ban the barbaric procedure known as female genital mutilation (FGM). About half the states ban it, but not Washington. The Population Reference Bureau found that half a million U.S. women and girls underwent or were at risk of undergoing FGM.

Congress banned FGM years ago, but a judge recently ruled that only states had the right to regulate it. Stepping up, Sen. Karen Keiser and Rep. Shelley Kloba (both Democrats) sponsored bans in their respective chambers. The House bill was significantly better because it made FGM a felony. But neither bill made it a crime for parents to take their daughter out of state or country “on vacation” to get the procedure.

The House version didn’t even get a hearing in Rep. Roger Goodman’s Public Safety committee. A Senate committee passed Keiser’s bill, but the full Senate never put it up for a vote.

What was the legislature doing on the cutoff day? They passed a bill to create a wine-themed license plate. That’s what many of our state legislators thought was more important than banning FGM. Just let that sink in a while.

Matthew Barry

Issaquah

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