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Judge: Law banning female genital mutilation unconstitutional

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is charged with mutilating the genitalia of five girls, ages 7 to 11.

In a historic case, a federal judge in Detroit dismissed six charges of female genital mutilation Tuesday against a Muslim doctor, declaring the nation’s law against the practice unconstitutional.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who was arrested in 2017 and released on $4.5 million bond, had been awaiting trial.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, however, ruled that Congress has no authority to make FGM illegal, WJBK-TV in Detroit reported.

The practice had been classified as illegal under the Necessary and Proper Clause or the Commerce Clause.

The law states “whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”


The judge agreed with the doctor’s attorneys that FGM is not commerce.

“That clause permits Congress to regulate activity that is commercial or economic in nature and that substantially affects interstate commerce either directly or as part of an interstate market that has such an effect. The government has not shown that either prong is met.”