12,000 Michiganders Demanding Action in Female Genital Mutilation Case

A petition with more than 12,000 signatures is demanding that two medical licensing boards revoke the licenses of the Michigan doctors who were at center of the shocking female genital mutilation case reported last week.

As The Minnesota Sun reported, a federal judge in Detroit tossed out charges against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala after finding that the 22-year-old federal ban on the practice was unconstitutional. Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhuruddin Attar, and three mothers accused of subjecting their daughters to the practice were cited in the case, and are all members of the Dawoodi Borhra Muslim sect from India.

Nagarwala was arrested in April 2017 on charges of conspiracy that resulted in the genital mutilation of at least nine girls, though some are now putting the number around 100.

On Nov. 20, however, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that Congress’ 1996 Female Genital Mutilation Act is unconstitutional, arguing that “federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute.”

“Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM [female genital mutilation],” he wrote in the ruling. “FGM is a ‘local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the state to regulate, not Congress.”

Outraged with the ruling, a petition with 12,423 supporters is now asking the American Board of Physician Specialties and the American Board of Internal Medicine to strip both Nagarwala and Attar of their ability to practice medicine.

“This horrible operation went on for 12 years in Michigan and involved seven other people. In all, over 100 girls were mutilated in a way that can never heal,” the petition states, revealing the gruesome details of the procedure.

“Even worse, the doctors involved are still able to practice medicine. Please join in calling on medical licensing boards to revoke the license of any physician who has performed female genital mutilation,” the petition continues, saying that “until this ruling, the U.S. was looked to as a leader in terms of decrying [the] heinous practice.”

“Now, we don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s up to us to change that and while this important issue continues to move through the court system, we must call on other institutions to stand against it,” it concludes.

Both Nagarwala and Attar still face conspiracy and obstruction charges that could send them to prison for 20 years.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.

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