Editor’s note: This article was written by Amy Willson who serves FHA Action as our Executive Assistant.
On Tuesday, March 10th Governor Dugaard signed HB 1089. 1089 is an act to ban the practice of female genital mutilation in SD (better known as the FGM Bill). FGM is recognized as a human rights violation and an extreme form of violence and discrimination against women and girls worldwide. FGM is most prevalent in communities in Africa and the Middle East but it is not confined to distant shores. According to a 2013 report by Sanctuary for Families, SD was found to have an estimated 1,344 women and children at risk for FGM. Even though FGM is a Federal crime in the US, there is a general lack of information about how to handle FGM. SD has now become the 24th state to place a state law prohibiting FGM which will help relevant local and civil society groups working in our communities to address this issue.
I was so proud to be able to work with Representative Lynn DiSanto and Senator Jenna Haggar who both embraced this bill when it was brought to them in January. I personally learned a lot about the political process and was honored that the FHA would allow me to lobby on behalf of such an important bill.