US Law Banning FGM Unconstitutional: Federal Judge Declares

The judge dropped charges against eight people who reportedly involved in performing FGM on several girls.

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US Law Banning FGM Unconstitutional: Federal Judge Declares
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Dismissing several charges against two doctors and others in female genital mutilation (FGM) case, a federal judge in Detroit on Tuesday, 20 November, declared US law banning FGM was unconstitutional.

Judge Bernard Friedman said that Congress lacked authority under the Commerce Clause to adopt the 1996 law. He also said that the power to outlaw FGM lies with individual states, according to The Wire.


According to TIME, Friedman said that "as despicable as (FGM) may be" the Congress had "overstepped" by banning it.

The judge dropped charges against eight people, including Dr Jumana Nagarwala, who reportedly performed FGM on several girls.

A US attorney spokesperson in Detroit said that the government would review the ruling in order to decide whether there will be appeal or not. In the US, twenty-seven states have banned the practice, including Michigan.


This was the first case that involved female genital mutilation. It is a religious practice in some religions and the human rights bodies have called it a violation.

According to World Health Organisation it is “a violation of the human rights of girls and women” and it has “no health benefits”.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to ban the practice, which involves cutting a part of the clitoris or removing it completely, in 2012.

(With inputs from The Wire, Times)

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