What Is Female Genital Mutilation? Michigan Doctor Faces Charges For Performing Banned Act On Several Girls

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald April 14, 09:45 am

A Michigan doctor is currently facing federal charges after she performed female genital mutilation on several girls. The law states that female genital mutilation was banned since 1996.

Authorities identified the doctor involved in the case as Jumana Nagarwala. She reportedly performed the mutilation on girls whose ages ranged from six to eight-years-old at her medical office in Livonia, Michigan. Police charged her with female genital mutilation and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. NBC News noted the first felony is punishable by five years while the second one by 10 years.

Since the 1996 banning and the 2012 amendment, this was the first case that went against the law. Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement that female genital mutilation "constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States."

Police received a tip regarding the practice of Nagarwala after families of two girls, both seven-years-old, brought their children to the Michigan clinic of the doctor specifically for female genital mutilation. The parents and their children traveled to Michigan in February. Other girls, who have not been identified yet, might have also suffered from female genital mutilation between the years of 2005 and 2007.

Nagarwala, however, denied the claims against her. The 44-year-old doctor also practiced emergency medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. They placed her on administrative leave after her arrest earlier this week.

Female genital mutilation is about the cutting or the removing of a part or the whole genitalia. According to the World Health Organization, 30 countries are doing this practice and most of them are in Africa. It is performed before girls reach puberty. Some of the side effects are infections, childbirth complications and pain during menstruation or urination, as per The New York Times.

The World Health Organization added that more than 200 million girls and women underwent female genital mutilation. Girls experienced this practice due to the culture of some countries. They believed this will increase a girl's eligibility for marriage.

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