June 23, 2017
The ACLU of Maine supports an amended version of LD 745 as passed by the House, Amendment B, "Resolve, To Establish a Community-based Education and Outreach Program to Prevent Female Genital Mutilation of a Minor." We believe results-based solutions that prioritize education and prevention over criminalization are the most effective way to curb dangerous behaviors.
The original version of LD 745, which would create multiple new felony penalties for FGM, is redundant; there are already severe penalties under both Maine and federal law that cover FGM. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to single out behavior that is commonly attributed to certain religious and ethnic communities as different from other forms of abuse. We're also concerned that the bill was crafted without the input of policy experts or affected communities. After hearing from women in Maine who were directly affected by female genital mutilation as well as advocates against domestic violence, we opposed the original version of LD 745.
We do not support the practice of FGM, and we are not calling for the legalization of this practice. We do not oppose exisiting laws outlawing FGM. For nearly a decade, the ACLU has supported laws aimed at protecting the rights and safety of women and girls. This includes laws condemning the practice of FGM. We remain committed to working with our partners who advocate for the rights of women and girls, and those in Maine’s immigrant communities, to find evidence-based solutions that will truly protect these vulnerable populations.