FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Legislation to ban female genital mutilation in Kentucky is headed to the governor’s desk.
The Senate voted 31-0 for the measure, known as Senate Bill 72, as amended in the House of Representatives. The House amendment placed an emergency clause in the bill, meaning it becomes effective immediately upon being signed into law rather than 90 days after adjournment.
The World Health Organization states that female genital mutilation, often referred to as FGM, includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons. It is mostly carried out on young girls.
Senate Republican Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, a primary sponsor of the bill, previously testified that Kentucky is among 15 states where FGM is still legal. A federal ban that had been in place for more than two decades was found unconstitutional in 2018.
SB 72 would make performing FGMs on minors a felony, ban trafficking girls across state lines for FGMs and strip the medical licenses from providers convicted of the practice. The bill would, among other things, classify FGM in state statutes as a form of child abuse and provide outreach to communities and professionals likely to encounter the practice.