ST. PAUL, Minn- Female genital mutilation (“FGM”) has come to Minnesota, horrifying anyone with a conscience and sense of decency. In the House of Representatives, Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) led the charge in changing our current law which forbids the practice of FGM, but lets parents who arrange for this butchery out of state completely off the hook. Not to punish those parents is akin to explicitly enable heinous child abuse.
Franson’s bill cleared three separate hearings, including one where adult Somali women who had suffered this crime against humanity before coming to America had testified. Their witness was wrenching, bringing the room to silence and tears to some.
The world’s most famous Somali, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, tweeted her support and approval of this bill and the House passed it by 124 to 4, an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. It was then sent to the Republican controlled Senate for action before the end of session.
Outrageously, the Senate has signalled it’s intention to do nothing. Their inaction has become national news, disgracing Minnesota generally and Republicans in particular. No legitimate reason has been offered by those moral reprobates for such cowardice.
Illegitimate reasons, however, have been and they deserve to be debunked, an easy enough task given a moment’s thought. Both the most specious and the most obnoxious reason offered is that the possibility of removing children from the home of the abusers “re victimizes” those girls. Rubbish.
This is like saying that removing children from the environment of pedophiles “re victimizes” those kids because those pedophiles are otherwise nice to them. This is insanity and deserves to be called out as such, not to be taken seriously for an instant.
Some say that the penalties in Franson’s bill, which apply only to FGM committed in the United States, might be mistakenly applied to those poor girls who had their vaginas, and their sexlife, and their psyches, destroyed abroad. Sorry, I’m pretty sure American medicine is advanced enough to determine that.
Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point) sponsored parallel legislation in the Senate but now worries about “having Big Brother come down and say, ‘This is wrong?’ ” Is that a real question, Senator? This isn’t a matter of Big Brother, a symbol of the surveillance state, but one of protecting the helpless and the defenseless.
Housley also said “How can we empower communities to address this practice from within?” They can’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be traveling to Michigan to butcher their daughters. This failure to help real, genuine victims–little girls for the love of God–is unforgivable.
Meanwhile, the Michigan State Senate just recently approved legislation that would imprison parents and doctors complicit in FGM for 15 years. Here, Minnesota Republicans speak nonsense designed to ingratiate themselves to the dominant, regressive, liberal culture of this state.
Another baseless reason offered by defenders of savagery is that this is a cultural practice. So is cannibalism. There’s no argument here, only an excuse designed to cloak cowardice with politically correct sensitivities.
One senator is passing around talking points against Senate action from a nonprofit group for which he was a lobbyist before joining the Senate. See how that works? This is shameful but the Senate leadership and other Republicans who have gone along with this inaction strike me as incapable of shame.
Rep. Franson Saturday told KTLK AM 1130 in a radio appearance on the Sue Jeffers Show that she had learned there was no way the Senate itself would move on this legislation. She held out hope that it might still be possible to insert her legislation into an omnibus bill but, from all accounts, this is an uphill battle.
The public should urge Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) not to stand in the way of the Franson bill being contained in an appropriate omnibus bill. Saying airily that this issue can be addressed in the next legislative session is to abandon an unknown number of Minnesota girls to horror, excruciating pain and a damaged, wounded adult life. When elected leaders lose their moral compass and spine, the public must step in to provide theirs.