Skip to main content

Charges brought in female genital mutilation case dismissed as judge rules law unconstitutional

It's a case in Michigan involving two girls from Minnesota.

Charges brought against two Michigan doctors, two Minnesota mothers and several more involved in the nation's first female genital mutilation court case have been dismissed.

It comes after Detroit District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the federal government's 22-year-old ban on female genital mutilation is unconstitutional, saying as "despicable" as it may be, FGM is a "local criminal activity" that should be regulated by states.

It was the first time the law had been tested in the courts, and it involved two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota, who were among several who underwent genital cutting at a clinic in Livonia, Michigan, as part of a religious procedure.

The girls had been told they were going to Detroit for a girls weekend by their mothers, who were also charged in the case.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the charges against all those involved – including ER Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who had denied carrying out the procedures – have been dropped following the judge's ruling.

Michigan enacted its own stricter FGM ban in the wake of the case, but the parents and medical staff allegedly involved cannot be retroactively charged.

There are 27 states that have criminalized FGM.

The Guardian reports that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit will review the ruling before considering whether to launch an appeal against Friedman's decision.

It is being urged to do so by Equality Now, which argues that this is a national crime concern, saying as many as 500,000 women and girls in America are at risk of being cut or already have been.

"The decision is perceived by FGM survivors around the world as a punch in the gut, including the many women and girls who have shared their intimate and personal stories of living with the negative mental and physical effects of FGM," the organization said.

Subscribe: Sign up to our daily newsletters

The charges against Nagarwala, the lead defendant in the case, stated that she is part of an Indian Muslim sect that believes in FGM.

The procedure, which can involve cutting and removing all or part of the clitoral skin, is often used to suppress female sexuality in an attempt to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity.

One of the Minnesota girls taken to Michigan told investigators they went on a "special girls trip," and while they were there they went to the doctor because their "tummies hurt."

The doctor performed a procedure to "get the germs out." She was told not to talk about the procedure.

FGM has been banned or criminalized in at least 59 countries and under several international treaties, though is still a common practice particularly in northern and southern African countries, the Guardian notes.

Next Up


2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.


1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 5.20.08 PM

Gov. Walz reacts to Tuesday death of Mankato West student

The governor is a former geography teacher at the high school.


Genital mutilation case involving MN girls prompts tougher laws in Michigan

Female genital mutilation is often used to suppress female sexuality.

Charges: ER doctor performed female genital mutilation on young MN girls

The FBI is asking anyone who has information about the illegal practice of FGM to contact them.

Charges: 2 people helped ER doctor arrange female genital mutilation procedures

The charges say two Minnesota girls were brought to Michigan to have it done.

Feds say 2 Minnesota girls may be among 100 victims of genital mutilation doctor

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is accused of carrying out FGM on eight victims, but there may be many more.

This bill would hold parents responsible if they allow female genital mutilation on their daughter

It would classify FGM as child abuse, and parents who consent to the procedure could go to prison.

Jaydin Pankow

Charge: Mother left child on MN highway after 'God told her to'

The 6-year-old girl was barefoot in the near-freezing weather.