A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a law banning female genital mutilation is unconstitutional.
Additionally, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman dismissed charges against two Michigan doctors and several others who carried out the procedures as part of the religious practice of Dawoodi Bohra, a Muslim sect, according to The Associated Press.
According to Fox News, the judge ruled that Congress did not properly in enacting the law that criminalized such an act.
“As despicable as (FGM) may be… (Congress) overstepped its bounds,” Friedman wrote.
According to Fox, the federal law was passed in 1996 under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. That was unacceptable, Friedman wrote.
“There is nothing commercial or economic about FGM,” Friedman wrote, according to Fox. “(FGM) is not part of a larger market and it has no demonstrated effect on interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature.”
The law has been on the books for 22 years, but it wasn’t used until 2017, when Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested for allegedly mutilating the genitalia of young females.
Nargarwala was accused of mutilating over 100 girls over 12 years with the involvement of seven others, including Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, whose clinic was used for Nargarwala’s operations.
Friedman’s ruling caused a storm of protest on social media.
@realDonaldTrump why do we have to have strict #immigration laws and regulate who comes in? So that freaks like this one do not come in to continue to practice what the other refugees come running from! NOT IN THE USA YOU DON’T! Dr.Jumana Nagarwala! pic.twitter.com/twM9TMYY99
— DaCrOfficial (@realDaCr) November 21, 2018
— Clarion Project (@clarionproject) November 13, 2018
What medical board approves for these butchers to become doctors in US: Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar. Shameful to see these butchers practicing mutilation of women. https://t.co/ilRl7Gj6XO
— Iran Revival (@IranRevival1) November 21, 2018
— #ARRESTMueller (@ObamaChallenge) November 21, 2018
The Detroit Free Press noted that while the charges have been dropped against Nagarwala for female genital mutilation, she and her alleged conspirators are still facing other charges, including conspiracy and obstruction.
The case could be far from over, however.
The U.S. attorney’s office is reviewing the ruling and will decide soon whether or not they will appeal the decision.
While Nagarwala’s lawyer is “unbelievably happy” over the ruling, women’s rights groups are calling it a “giant step backward in the protection of women’s and girls’ rights.”
Republican state Sen. Rick Jones echoed the sentiments after the ruling expressing his disappointment over the judges decision.
He said, “I’m angry that the federal judge dismissed this horrific case that affected upwards of a hundred girls who were brutally victimized and attacked against their will.”
“This is why,” he added, “it was so important for Michigan to act. We set a precedent that female genital mutilation will not be tolerated here.”
In his statement, he also said that it was his hope that other states would follow suit.
This case, moreover, has caused the state of Michigan to put a new law in the books criminalizing female genital mutilation.
In 2017, Michigan approved a new law that would carry up to 15 years in prison for those who practiced the procedure, and also for those who transported girls to other states to have it performed.
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