Bills aim to prevent female genital mutilation in Michigan

(File photo)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — New legislation would criminalize female genital mutilation in Michigan.

Two bills passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday could carry a sentence up to 15 years imprisonment for the crime. The federal punishment carries a maximum of five years.

Republican state Sen. Rick Jones says it isn’t always possible to rely on federal prosecution. He adds that five years isn’t enough for “a horrible, inhuman thing” done to a little girl.

The legislation comes after a Detroit-area doctor was indicted on female genital mutilation charges. She’s accused of performing the procedure on two 7-year-old girls in February.

The doctor’s attorney says it was a harmless religious ritual.

The bills head to the GOP-controlled full Senate for further consideration.

There are about two dozen states with laws relating to genital mutilation.