DETROIT — An emergency room physician has been charged with performing female genital mutilation in Michigan on girls as 6-years-old, in what prosecutors are saying is the first case of its kind brought in the United States.
Jumana Nagarwala, 44, is charged with performing the procedures at a a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. According to the criminal complaint, some of the girls — who were between the ages of six and eight — travelled from out of state to have the procedure done.
“Despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco.
Prosecutors said they believe this is the first criminal case to be brought under a federal statute that bans female genital mutilation that has been in place since 1997.
“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse,” Blanco said.
Female genital mutilation is defined by the World Health Organization as any procedure that intentionally alters female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly commonly seen in Africa and the Middle East and parts of Asia, but is considered barbaric in the West.
It is mostly performed on young girls before they reach puberty. An estimated 200 million women worldwide have undergone some form of the procedure, according to the WHO.
Nagarwala is listed as a specialist in emergency medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit An online profile for her says she received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University .