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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Lawmakers in St. Paul debated legislation Wednesday ramping up penalties against parents who allow female genital mutilation.

This is all in an effort to protect young girls from being permanently harmed by these procedures.

The debate was prompted after a first-of-its-kind case out of Michigan last month that involved a female doctor and two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was charged in federal court for violating a U.S. ban on genital mutilation. She is accused of performing the painful, bloody procedure at a Michigan clinic in February that left the two girls with scars and lacerations.

The defense attorney representing the doctor claims she performed a religious ritual, not genital mutilation and has entered a not-guilty plea.

The doctor and the Minnesota girls’ families both belong to the same Muslim sect.

A 2012 study conducted by the CDC estimates more than 500,000 girls in America have been subjected to or were at risk of undergoing genital mutilation.

If this law is passed and signed into law, it would go into effect on Aug. 1.


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