Chicago Tribune

Column: Cutting girls' genitals is barbaric. I hope a new Illinois law raises awareness and curbs the practice.

Illinois recently passed new legislation aimed at decreasing female genital mutilation, a barbaric practice that some experts estimate tens of thousands of girls are at risk of undergoing each year in the Midwest alone.

The bill, signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 9, removes the statute of limitations for prosecuting the performance of female genital mutilation (also called FGM) if the victim was under 18 at the time of the cutting. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Scholars and medical experts who study the prevalence and lifelong complications of FGM met the legislation with tempered enthusiasm.

"It's incremental progress," said Juliet Sorensen, clinical professor of law at Northwestern University. Sorensen has worked with the law school's Center for International Human Rights, and she founded the school's

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