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Law Enforcement

What is Female Genital Cutting (FGC)?

Female genital cutting means cutting, removing, or sewing closed some or all of a girl’s or woman’s private parts. FGC can also be called female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM). 

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    • What is the law?

      FGC is in the Michigan Public Health Code 333.9159, effective October 9, 2017 The laws:

      • Prohibit FGM/C on minors;
      • Allow exceptions for necessary medical procedures;
      • Apply to parents/guardians who facilitate as well as the individual who performs the procedure;
      • Prohibit travel outside the state for the purpose of FGM/C;
      • Exclude cultural/ritual reasons and/or consent as a defense;
      • Provide a civil cause of action by the victim for physical and emotional damages until the victim reaches age 28;
      • Provide for a felony sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment; and
      • Provide a basis for termination of parental rights. 

      Depending on the facts and evidence in each specific case, FGC may amount to parental child abuse or neglect under the Child Protection Law.

      • 1931 PA 328 (Michigan Penal Code), MCL 750.136 & MCL 750.136a
      • 2017 PA 76, MCL 600.5851
      • 2017 PA 78, MCL 600.2978
      • 2017 PA 77, MCL 333.9159
      • 2017 PA 193, MCL 712A.19b
      • Child Protection Laws, MCL 722.621

    • Why is FGC done?

      Different communities and cultures have different reasons for practicing FGC. Social acceptability is the most common reason. Families often feel pressure to have their daughter cut so she is accepted by their community. Other reasons may include: 

      • The desire to ensure a woman remains a virgin until marriage. Parents believe FGC is in the child's best interest and therefore is an expression of love.
      • Rite of passage. In some countries, FGC is a part of the ritual that a girl goes through to be considered a woman
      • Belief that FGC increases sexual pleasure for the man. 
      • Hygiene. Some communities believe that the external female genitals that are cut (the clitoris or the labia or both) are unclean.
      • Condition of marriage. In some countries, a girl or woman is cut in order to be considered suitable for marriage.
      • Religious duty, although no religion’s holy texts require FGC. 

    • Why opposition?

      The World Health Organization (WHO) considers FGC a human rights violation because:

      • It violates the rights to health and bodily integrity
      • Is a form of violence and torture against women
      • Violates the rights of children who undergo the practice without consent.

      Because of this many countries have made laws banning the practice of FGC.

    • Health Risks

      Physical harm includes:

      • Severe pain 

      • Difficulty urinating or painful menstrual periods

      • Serious bleeding

      • Problems during or after childbirth

      • Infections and diseases

      • Death as a result from some of these problems


      Emotional harm includes:

      • Anger at the person performing or allowing the procedure                     

      • Depression, fear and feelings of helplessness

      • Trauma, including nightmares and flashbacks                                                       

      • Sexual fears, decreased sexual pleasure


      There may be harms that are not listed above.

      These health risks can be short-term, long-term or both.

    • Who is at risk

      • Worldwide more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGC annually. Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women.
      • More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGC is concentrated.
      • The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas.
      • Some immigrant families in the U.S. from these countries also practice FGC or may send their daughters back to their family homeland for FGC. Other immigrant families stop practicing FGC once they are in the United States.                                            


Female Genital Cutting: A Fact Sheet. Office of Women’s Health; US Dept. of Health & Human Services,; retrieved January 2018.

Khatna, Khafz or Female Genital Cutting; Sahiyo,; retrieved April 2018.

What Is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM?); Forward Youth;; retrieved April 2018.

Female Genital Mutilation Fact Sheet; World Health Organization (WHO);;  retrieved September 2017.

Michigan Compiled Laws;; retrieved October 2017.



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