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Bill against genital mutilation raises concern

ST. PAUL — Some members of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities are opposing legislation that would impose stiff penalties on parents involved in female genital mutilation, slowing the bill’s momentum.

Nonprofit organization Isuroon, the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage and other groups say the legislation carries overly harsh punishment and unintended consequences, the Star Tribune reported. They’re calling for a less punitive approach focused on educating parents.

The bill makes it a felony for parents to subject their daughters to genital mutilation. It calls for loss of custody and prison sentences between five and 20 years, depending on the extent of the injuries. It also would increase the penalties for those who perform the procedure, which has been illegal since the 1990s.

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