Representatives Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), John Poston (R- Lake Shore), John Heinrich (R-Anoka), Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg), Jason Rarick (R-Pine City), Steve Green (R-Fosston), and Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud) are the authors of HF373, the bill that increases female genital mutilation (FGM) penalties and updates the horrendous definition of it.
The bill was introduced by only Republicans and referred to the committee on Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division on Jan 24, 2019. Representative Franson passed a similar bill in the house back in 2017, but the bill never made it through the Senate side.
The bill expands the conviction of a felony to “the parent, guardian, or other people legally responsible or charged with the care or custody of a minor who knowingly allows” for FGM to take place and also calls into question the custody of the child.
“I view this as child abuse and sexual abuse” Rep. Franson told Alpha News. “We won’t stay silent and that the punishment will be harsh, including the potential loss of parental custody of these innocent victims,” she reiterated.
Back in 2017, two Minnesota mothers were charged with one count of FGM of a person under the age of 18. Their 7-year-old daughters were brought to a doctor’s office in Michigan by their mothers to undergo the FGM procedure. This incident sparked the conversation in Minnesota surrounding how to protect women and girls from this blatant act of child abuse.
No Minnesota Senators or DFL representatives have jumped in on authoring the bill yet.
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Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.