Governor Wolf signed House Bill 315 into law, making the practice of Female genital mutilation a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania.
The national EndFGMTToday campaign applauded the Keystone State Lawmakers who championed the bill, including Representatives Tom Murt and Donna Bullock, as well as Congressman Scott Perry, who submitted a letter to Governor Wolf and others in a call for the protection of women and girls from this practice.
Elizabeth Yore, an internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate who heads EndFGMTToday, has worked closely with many state lawmakers to enact the legislation.
“Thousands of women and girls are at risk for FGM in Pennsylvania. We appreciate and applaud the lawmakers and Governor Wolf, who stood up for women and girls with the passage of this important law. Plain and simple, FGM is child abuse. In fact, the CDC estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk of FGM in the United States, and Pennyslvania ranks 11th for FGM risk among states,” Yore said.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, nearly 19,500 female residents of Pennsylvania are at risk for FGM, more than 6,000 of them girls under the age of 18, ranking Pennsylvania 11th in the nation.
Congressman Scott Perry released a statement regarding the matter.
“I appreciate the combined efforts of the bill’s sponsor, State Representative Tom Murt, and Pennsylvania House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Kauffman for pushing this critical legislation through the legislative process. Pennsylvania will join the majority of states that have similar provisions. I’m hopeful that the momentum continues to other states until we all agree that FGM/C is intolerable in the United States of America, and that the perpetrators of this heinous act should be held accountable,” said Perry.
Murt also called this a “major victory” for Pennsylvania.
Female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women.