News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Here we go. Illegal and painful mutilation of little girls' genitals to suppress sexual feeling to be argued as a religious right in Detroit, Michigan-Detroit Free Press

May 20, 2017, "Religious defense planned in landmark Detroit genital mutilation case," Detroit Free Press, Tresa Baldas

"Millions of little girls and young women have been subjected to a painful rite of passage that involves cutting their genitals — often without anesthesia — for centuries in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Lawyers plan to claim genital cutting is allowed as a religious right. But legal experts say the First Amendment doesn't bend that far.

On paper, the law seems clear: Cutting any part of a young girl's genitalia is illegal — and no custom or ritual can be used to justify it. The law has been on the books for 21 years, unchallenged.

But in a federal courtroom in Detroit, a landmark case involving the centuries-old taboo ritual is about to put that law to the test for the first time.

And perhaps more historic, a question will be raised in the American legal system that has never been raised before: Does the U.S. Constitution allow for genital cutting, even if it's just a minor nick or scraping, in the name of religion?

Defense lawyers plan to argue that religious freedom is at the core of the case in which two physicians and one of their wives are charged with subjecting young girls to genital cutting. All three are members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a small Indian-Muslim sect that has a mosque in Farmington Hills....

Prosecutors have argued that the federal genital mutilation law is clear: It prohibits "knowingly circumcis(ing), excis(ing) or infibulat(ing) the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of any other person who has not attained the age of 18 years."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward has argued repeatedly in court that the defendants knew what they were doing was illegal, but did it anyway. She has called their crimes "heinous" and argues the harm was severe.

According to court documents, in interviews with authorities, the two Minnesota victims described the genital cutting procedures as painful.

One girl said that she got a shot, screamed, and "could barely walk after the procedure, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle." The other said she was "laid on an examining table with her knees near her chest and legs spread apart," that she was "pinched" in the genital area, that it "hurted a lot" and that there was "pain and burning."

Both girls were told to keep the procedures a secret, court records show. One said "the doctor made her (friend) cry."

"According to some members of the community who have spoken out against the practice, the purpose of this cutting is to suppress female sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity," a Homeland Security Investigations special agent wrote in an April 20 court filing.

Especially egregious, authorities have argued, is that this procedure was carried out by a doctor who took an oath to do no harm.

"She knew that this was illegal but did it anyway," Woodward has said of Nagarwala, stressing: "As a medical doctor, she is aware that female genital mutilation has no medical purpose.""






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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.