State of Michigan passes stringent anti-FGM laws

A series of new laws passed in Michigan strengthen penalties for female genital mutilation practices in the state. Performing FGM or transporting another person in the state for the purpose of undergoing FGM will be punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 10 years more than the federal penalty for the crime.

The new legislation comes only a few months after the state became the backdrop for the first federal case involving FGM in the United States. Six people were charged for either committing or assisting in performing female genital mutilation on two 7-year-old girls, who were brought into Michigan from Minnesota. FGM is illegal in the United States for girls under 18 and is punishable by up to five years in prison, according to national law.

The laws state that saying the operation is "required as a matter of custom or ritual" will not be an acceptable defense for committing the crime. Parental consent is also not a legal defense, according to the new laws.

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