Episiotomy Page - [Home Birth and Electronic Fetal Monitoring] [Birthing Center]

The text of the North Dakota Genital Integrity Law, which was the first to pass in the United States, reads as follows - FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

An ACT to prohibit female genital mutilation: and to provide a penalty.


SECTION 1.Surgical alteration of the genitals of female minor - Penalty - Exception.

1. Except as provided in subsection 2, any person who knowingly separates or surgically alters normal, healthy, functioning genital tissue of a female minor is guilty of a class C felony.

2. A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if a licensed medical practitioner performs the operation to correct an anatomical abnormality or to remove diseased tissue that is an immediate threat to the health of the female minor. In applying this subsection, any belief that the operation is required as a matter of custom, ritual, or standard of practice may not be taken into consideration. Approved March 17, 1995 Filed March 20, 1995

NOTE: The bill was originally written to protect all minors and non-consenting individuals, However Duane Voskuil, PhD, (e-mail dvoskuil@tic.bisman.com - phone 701-222-3777) and I were unsuccessful in finding a legislator who was willing to be the primary sponsor of such a bill. A legislator wanted to sponsor a bill protecting females only. She modified the bill to reflect this by adding the word "female" (as above) and the bill immediately had a full slate of sponsors.

The bill passed unanamously in both houses and Governor Ed Schaefer signed it into law three days later.

The language of this law will provide comprehensive protection to all children as soon as the courts, as well as society determine the ethical problems and unconstitutionality of prohibiting the surgical alteration and separation of genital tissue of one gender and not the other. The language of this bill will also prohibit the forced separation of the synecial connections of little girls labia (refered to as "removing labial adhesions" (sic) in medical terms) as well as the more commom practice of premature foreskin retraction of male infants and boys.

Female minors are now protected from the standard medical practice of routine episiotomy (our culture's FGM). All women would also have this protection if a last minute oversight had not removed the words "and non-consenting individuals" from the last draft of the bill.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Jody McLaughlin (701) 852-2822)
PO Box 209, Minot, North Dakota 58702
e-mail: jody@minot.com