Washington State Enacts Anti-Female Genital Mutilation, Dr. Sánchez testifies 4 times as a proponent of the bill

April 20, 2023
Senate Bill 5453

Washington State enacted a new bill to protect women and children from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and it has been signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on April 20, 2023.  Dr. Sánchez was honored to testify 4 times before WA’s Senate and House as a proponent of the bill. 

The landmark move is being celebrated by FGM/C survivors and women’s rights campaigners, who have been working with lawmakers on introducing legislation to help end this harmful practice.  Bill SSB 5453, which went into effect on April 20, 2023, prohibits people, including health care practitioners, from performing FGM/C on girls under 18, provides care for survivors and their families, and gives survivors the right to take private civil action against perpetrators. It also makes provisions for community-wide education about the harms of FGM/C and the new law, including targeting first responders with awareness raising about responsibilities and implementation. 

Enacting legislation against FGM/C has received broad community support, partly because it will help those at risk and their families to resist strong cultural and social pressures pushing for the continuation of the practice. It will also be an important deterrent as people are less likely to act when they know there are legal consequences.

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