P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2017
AUSTIN – Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today introduced legislation to protect Texas girls from female genitalia mutilation (FGM). All eight women of the Senate have signed on as joint authors.
“This is a gruesome practice that has no place in decent society. We must do everything we can to protect young girls in Texas from being permanently disfigured as part of a misguided and cruel custom,” Senator Nelson said.
SB 323 strengthens existing law regarding FGM, which is prohibited under Section 167.001 of the Health and Safety Code as a state jail felony. Specifically, SB 323 ensures that individuals who transport or permit the transport of a person for the purpose of FGM can be prosecuted. In addition, it clearly states that neither custom nor consent can be used as a defense to prosecution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls nationwide are at risk of FGM – a practice in which girls as young as 4 years old are disfigured to maintain their virginity until marriage. AHA Foundation estimates that 25,000 or more are at risk in Texas. Federal law established FGM as a crime in 1996; it is punishable by up to five years in prison. House Bill 91, 76th Texas Legislature, prohibited FGM in Texas. Texas is among 24 states with state laws prohibiting FGM.