Maine legislature working on three bills against female genital mutilation


    Female genital mutilation is already outlawed in the U.S., but some lawmakers want to create harsher penalties here in Maine. (WGME)

    AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Female genital mutilation is already outlawed in the U.S., but some lawmakers want to create harsher penalties here in Maine.

    Right now, there are three competing bills trying to ban female genital mutilation here in Maine. At Monday's hearing at the State House, they were trying to get the best parts of all three, to find some middle ground.

    The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee took up the issue Monday, hearing bills trying to ban FGM from both republicans and democrats.

    The bills have some differences, including criminalizing crossing state lines to have the procedure done, and more education.

    FGM is already a federal crime and 26 other states have already passed similar bills.

    Contrary to democrats, republican lawmakers say they believe the practice is happening in Maine, and a survivor of FGM testified to the committee Monday in great detail about how what happened to her Africa still haunts her.

    The sponsors of all three competing bills say they hope to have a work session soon so they can create one combined bill to vote on.

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