Detroit, Mich., Nov 21, 2018 / 14:56 pm
A federal judge in Detroit ruled Tuesday that a law banning female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States is unconstitutional as it is currently written. This ruling dismisses six charges of FGM against a Michigan doctor in the first court case challenging the FGM ban in the U.S.
Female genital mutilation, or the cutting or removal of a female's clitoris and labia, had officially been banned in the United States since 1997 under the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested in 2017 and was accused of cutting the genitals of at least six girls at a clinic in the Detroit area, Fox 2 Detroit reports. The defense argued that the doctor was not cutting, but "scraping" the genitalia.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that congress does not have the authority to make FGM illegal because the ban fell under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Since the FGM is not "commercial or economic in nature," Friedman wrote, the clause is not applicable in this case.