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House to review FGM bill

By Bridgett Milton

The House of Representatives has instructed its committees on Internal Affairs, Gender and Judiciary to review the FGM abolition bill jointly sent to plenary by Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa, Rep. Rustonlyn Dennis of Monserrado County (D-4) Rep. Richard Nagbe Koon, Rep. Ceebee C.D. Barsheil (D-3), Rep. Isaac Roland of Maryland County (D-3) and Rep. Thomas Goshua of Grand Bassa County.

While the committees are reviewing the bill, copies will be sent to each lawmaker to engage their various constituents during the July break of the House. 

The lawmakers recall that nearly three years ago when the Legislature formed a bipartisan coalition to pass the Domestic Violence Bill, they promised women and children of Liberia to champion a genital mutilation bill.

“Mr. Speaker, even with the recent reversal of the landmark constitutional ruling in the United States of Roe V. Wade, the majority of persons living in civilized democracies still believe that a woman’s right over her body is a private right and may not be interfered with by the State and or traditional institutions”, the lawmakers noted.

 They said it is the responsibility of Liberian democracy to protect the new and the weak, and it is now time to tackle the painful debate of harmful traditional practices especially, female genital mutilation, commonly known as “FGM.” 

They added that data is abundant and clear, that FGM has enormous psychosocial, social, and political implications far beyond the painful procedure usually practiced by non-medical personnel.

They noted that evidence is overwhelming that the costs of traditional practices outweigh the benefits, and invidious discrimination is meted out to one section of the Liberian society.

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 “Mr. Speaker, it is within the spirit of a right to privacy enshrined in our constitution and the global recognition that harmful traditional practices must be abolished that we lay this piece of legislation before plenary for debate and hopeful passage, so no longer will a Liberian woman or girl live through the trauma of the violation of her privacy or the mutilation of her body”, the lawmakers said. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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