Murt Urges Action to Criminalize Female Genital Mutilation
HARISBURG—Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) held a press conference today to urge action on a bill he’s introduced to establish the offense of female mutilation.

House Bill 135 would specifically make it a crime for a parent to cut or allow someone to circumcise or excise the genitals of a female minor.

The practice involves cutting of the female genitalia and is often a coming-of-age ritual in various part of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 140 million women and children worldwide have been affected by female genital cutting or female mutilation. However, according to the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it is estimated that 228,000 women in the United States have been cut because they come from an ethnic community.

“The United States Department of State considers female mutilation not only a public health concern, but a human rights issue, as the practice violates the right to a woman’s bodily integrity,” Murt said. “I agree with the Department of State.”

Women who are immigrants are at continued risk of the practice as these cultural beliefs follow the women to the United States, where the practice has moved underground. Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest number of women who have been victimized. Other states include California, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.

Under Murt’s legislation, female mutilation would be a first-degree felony.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207 /
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