After easily passing through the Minnesota House of Representatives, a bill that would add stronger penalties for parents involved with female genital mutilation is now in jeopardy. The Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage and other groups are lobbying against the bill, saying that focus needs to be on education rather than punishment.
“We all agree this practice is absolutely horrible, and something needs to be done,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Karin Housley. “How can we empower communities to address this practice from within rather than having Big Brother come down and say, ‘This is wrong?’ ”
However, reports the Minnesota Star Tribute, House sponsor Rep. Mary Franson said that these groups are “more concerned with perception than doing the right thing and protecting girls.” The outlet also quotes her as saying that “Watering down the bill really does a disservice to the little girls who are in danger.”
Under this legislation, parents would face a prison term of five to twenty years in prison and potential loss of custody. This legislation comes on the heels of recent revelations that Minnesota families had brought their daughters to Detroit for genital mutilation.