Advocates of the heinous, inhuman practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) won a victory last week when a federal judge declared that federal law banning the practice was unconstitutional.

The practice of FGM in Muslim cultures, also known as female circumcision or cutting, is usually performed on girls and designed to control their sexuality. There are few more anti-women practices than this.

If lawmakers want to prevent their states from becoming a magnet for this activity banned in other states, they too should act quickly to ban FGM.

A much-publicized case against eight Detroit, Michigan residents including two doctors came to a conclusion last week when U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman threw out the mutilation and conspiracy charges against all of the defendants.

The judge ruled that the 1996 federal law banning FGM violated the Constitution because Congress didn’t have the power to regulate this activity, He noted: “Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit (female genital mutilation).”

States have every right to criminalize FGM though. Reportedly 27 states have laws against female genital mutilation including Michigan which banned the practice after these assailants were arrested, but there are 23 others which don’t.

This is where lawmakers have a chance to step up and protect girls from a barbaric practice that could devastate their lives.

FGM is fairly widespread with an estimated over 500,000 girls and women in the U.S. who have undergone the procedure according to Center for Disease Control estimates. There’s been a rapid increase in the practice driven by immigration particularly from three sending countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The United Nations condemned FGM and the World Health Organization finds no health benefit to the procedure but says it can cause numerous health problems such as cysts, infections, complications in childbirth, and increased risk of newborn deaths.

There’s good reason that our nation should take a strong stand against FGM and look at ways to purge the practice from society.

There should be no sugar-coating what female cutting is or trying to sweep it under the rug because of cultural sensitivities.

We fight for the rights, protection, and livelihood of all women.

This is a moment for states and Washington to figure out ways to get this done.

Also read:

FGM Shouldn’t Have a Place in the U.S. – or Anywhere
Detroit Doctor Alleged to Have Performed Genital Mutilation on Up to 100 Girls
New York Times: Female Genital Mutilation Is a "Culturally Loaded" Term