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State Rep. says female genital mutilation is happening in Maine

Republican Representative Heather Sirocki says her research suggests female genital mutilation is happening in Maine, and she wants to stop it. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – Republican Representative Heather Sirocki says her research suggests female genital mutilation is happening in Maine, and she wants to stop it.

“I get private Facebook messages from nurses; I get personal conversation from folks, they're telling me what they're seeing in Maine hospitals,” Sirocki said.

No Maine hospital would confirm they've seen patients needing treatment for FGM procedures, but Sirocki pointed us to MaineCare records, showing eight women in Maine have been treated for complications related to FGM, although it's unclear where the initial procedure was done. In April, a doctor was arrested and charged with performing FGM on young girls in Michigan.

FGM is already illegal under federal law, but supporters of Sirocki's bill say making it a state law would make it easier for state prosecutors to bring cases to court.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control says about half a million women and girls in the United States are "at risk for FGM or its consequences." Another report, this one from UNICEF, estimates 98 percent of women living in Somalia have undergone an FGM procedure.

Somali immigrants in Lewiston say while they believe FGM happens in Somalia, they don't believe it's happening in Maine.

Tuesday we called and emailed several Maine lawmakers who are against the bill, but none wanted to talk about it. Previously they said a new state law could isolate immigrants and cause fear.

“This is a practice that should be clearly prohibited,” Sirocki said.

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