A bill making it a felony for a parent to allow genital mutilation of a female child unanimously passed a Minnesota House committee today after emotional testimony and heated debate. Saint Paul Democrat John Lesch says he doesn’t know if the bill is “window dressing,” but county attorneys were not asked why they didn’t prosecute such cases. Lesch says, “We’re at risk of patting ourselves on the back for doing something which already could be illegal.” Bill sponsor, Alexandria Republican Mary Franson fired back, “Do you really think throwing rocks at a train is on the same playing field as female genital mutilation? Do you really think so? Because I don’t!”
The bill was brought forward after the procedure was performed by a Detroit-area doctor on two seven-year-old Minnesota girls who were brought to Michigan by their mothers. The doctor’s attorney argues she was performing a harmless ritual utilized by a Muslim religious sect.