Two amendments have been proposed to the U.S. FGM Law of September 30, 1996. H.R. 5137, Girls Protection Act of 2010 was introduced in the 111th Congress on April 26, 2010. MGMBill, Genital Mutilation Prohibition Act has not yet been sponsored in Congress. There are some similarities and differences between the two amendments, which I will refer to as GPABill and MGMBill.
Both amendments address the problem of female genital cutting outside the borders of the United States, but cover different circumstances and have different penalties. GPABill makes it a crime to knowingly transport a female outside of the United States for the purpose of medically unnecessary genital cutting while under the age of 18. GPABill provides for a penalty of a fine or up to 5 years in prison, or both. MGMBill makes it a crime to arrange, plan, or procure medically unnecessary genital cutting on a female under the age of 18 outside of the United States. MGMBill provides for a penalty of a fine or up to 14 years in prison, or both.
This means that that MGMBill provides more girls protection under a wider variety of circumstances in which female genital cutting may occur, and provides a longer potential prison term for violators than GPABill. Under GPABill, it is only a crime to arrange the genital cutting of a female minor outside the United States if doing so involves international transport of the child. For example, GPABill does not prohibit an American from arranging the genital cutting of a young female family member who resides outside the United States. An American could even travel outside the United States to personally facilitate one or more acts of female genital cutting without penalty. However in all of these cases, MGMBill provides for up to 14 years in prison. MGMBill also provides a longer potential prison sentence than GPABill for female genital cutting within the United States.
MGMBill is a stronger, more comprehensive amendment than GPABill for the protection of girls. MGMBill is also a stronger, more comprehensive amendment than GPABill for the protection of boys. MGMBill provides equal protection from medically unnecessary genital cutting for males and females under the age of 18. GPABill does not provide equal protection under the law for male and female minors.
To provide strong, comprehensive protection of children from Americans who would cause their genitals to be cut without medical necessity at home or abroad, Congress should be urged to pass GPABill and MGMBill into law. Alternatively, a similar level of protection for children could be achieved by passage of MGMBill alone.