First Doctor Charged With FGM in the US- Jumana Nagarwala

By Faye Higbee

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, a doctor at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, has been charged with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – the first case of its kind in the United States. She allegedly performed the banned practice on girls ranging in age from 6-8 years old. She faces 5 years to life in federal prison.

New York Magazine reports,

She also faces a charge of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Per a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Nagarwala, 44, is accused of performing the procedure on girls aged 6 to 8, some of whom traveled out of state to a clinic in Livonia, Michigan, for her services. Investigators believe that she may have been performing such procedures since 2005.

The criminal complaint lists her charges under 3 Federal criminal codes: 18 U.S.C. Section 116, Female Genital Mutilation, 18 U.S.C. Section 2423 (a), (e), Transportation with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity,Conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 Making a False Statement to a Federal Officer.

The FBI received information that Dr Nagarwala was performing the procedure on girls at a medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan. She was not a a physician at the clinic. She was placed on administrative leave at her place of employment, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Phone records were obtained that showed families in Minnesota and Michigan had brought their daughters to Dr Nagarwala to have the FGM procedure done.

When the agents interviewed two of the victims, they learned that one of them had left a winter glove at the clinic where the procedure was done. Agents obtained a search warrant for the clinic, and found that glove…it had the name of the little girl on it.

When they interviewed Dr. Nagarwala, she said she knew FGM was a federal offense, but that she had never done such a thing. Except that the two little girls identified Nagarwala as the doctor who did the procedure.(M-V1 and M-V2 – Minor Victims 1 and 2 in the complaint).

FGM- Female Genital Mutilation

WHO, the World Health Organization, has stated that FGM  has no medical benefits for women, and in fact causes irreparable damage to the clitoris. There are several side-effects as well:

“Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.”

Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are the main areas where this barbaric practice continues.