U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Deb Fischer (R-NE) recently denounced female genital mutilation as a human rights violation.
“Nearly three million girls across the globe are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation each year,” Sen. Ernst said on Feb. 6. “We must do more to protect young women from enduring this grotesque practice.”
The senators introduced a U.S. Senate resolution similar to House Resolution 106, which would brand female genital mutilation or cutting as a human rights violation and would urge the international community and the federal government to increase efforts to eliminate the practice, according to the text of the resolution.
The resolution builds on the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2019, S. 2017, which Sen. Blackburn sponsored in June 2019 with cosponsors including Sens. Ernst, Capito, Fischer, and Martha McSally (R-AZ) to end the practice and ensure prosecution of those who commit it. The bill remains under consideration by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
“While my colleagues and I have worked to increase penalties for perpetrators and prevent more women from becoming victims, this resolution is meant to keep those legislative efforts alive and declare the truth about this horrific abuse,” said Sen. Ernst. “I fully believe that, working together, we can end this degrading practice.”
Sen. Blackburn called gender-based violence the most extreme constraint on female empowerment.
“This obstacle remains the largest global epidemic ahead of women,” she said. “It seems impossible that a painful practice like female genital mutilation could be allowed to happen in the United States. If we stay silent, more women and young girls will suffer from this egregious injustice.”
Sen. Fischer called the practice “horrific” and said it has no place in any culture or country. She also condemned “those who perpetrate this practice.”
The resolution is endorsed by the Independent Women’s Forum and the Concerned Women for America, among others.