‘Democrats like to talk about victims’ rights…but their votes on this horrific form of child abuse do not back up all of their talk…’
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) In a vote almost too mind-boggling for words, Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives killed a bill last week that would have banned the barbaric custom of female genital mutilation (FGM), with every Democrat but one voting not to expressly ban the practice.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes FGM as “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women,” but carries with it significant, lasting health risks – and “is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.”
It also characterizes the practice in the category of “torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
The custom is prevalent in many countries in Africa and the Middle East (and Indonesia), and is often (but not always) associated with Islam. (The Koran does not mention it, but it is praised in some other sayings that most Muslims attribute to Muhammad.)
Some American immigrants from those countries, especially Islamic ones, still want to practice the custom; Some left-wingers who claim to be champions of women nonetheless are loathe to ban it because, apparently, they don’t want to “judge other cultures.”
Never mind that, utterly unlike the usually harmless male, semi-equivalent practice – which actually can have some health benefits – FGM quite often can cause lifelong pain, serious health problems, or even death.
That’s why FGM is illegal under federal law.
But many state laws aren’t so clear, and some people claim the right to perform the ritual as part of their “religious liberty,” even though mainline Muslim organizations say it is not part of Islamic law and the practice has cultural (rather than religious) roots that long precede Islam.
U.S. Government Accountability Office has reported that some 513,000 girls in America have suffered FGM or are at serious risk of it.
But rather than defend girls, Maine Democrats – perhaps seeking votes from some 12,000 Somali refugees living in Maine, according to the Bangor Daily News– accused the bill’s sponsors of “Islamophobia” and racism.
Many of the Maine residents who suffered FGM did so before moving to America, but evidence indicates that at least some of them were subjected to it only after they moved to Maine.
The bill’s supporters said a state anti-FGM bill is needed because the federal law is rarely prosecuted and a state version of the law would make it easier for state prosecutors to bring cases to court.
The Maine Senate, recognizing these facts and threats to women’s health, easily passed the bill in bipartisan fashion, 30-5.
But the House killed the bill, 77-70.
“The Democrats like to talk about victims’ rights, women’s rights, child advocacy, human rights, and justice,” said state Rep. Heather Sirocki, a chief sponsor of the legislation, “but their votes on this horrific form of child abuse do not back up all of their talk.”
“Playing games with child abuse is shameful,” she added.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage also strongly supported the bill.
“No child should ever be subjected to violence,” he said. “When it comes to this horrific form of child abuse we must have a zero tolerance.”
The bill was originally introduced on Feb. 6, to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
But the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union, amazingly, has described the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to single out behavior that is commonly attributed to certain religious and ethnic communities.”
Not a word about the custom’s deleterious effect on the happiness, health, and even lives of millions of women.