New York Gov. George Pataki signed a bill Monday that makes female genital mutilation a felony when performed on a minor. Pataki stated that female genital mutilation is “a practice that disfigures the body and results in lifelong suffering and dysfunction” and will not be tolerated.
Female genital mutilation, practiced mostly in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa, can range from cutting off the foreskin on the clitoris to complete removal of all external genitalia, which often results in infection, life-long pain, or even death.
The Centers for Disease Control says that 27,000 females in New York alone have been or will be mutilated. Several U.S. cities have fought immigrants trying to get doctors to perform the procedure in the past few years. Cosmetic piercing and tattooing of adult women’s genitals are not covered by the law.