Ruling in female genital mutilation case shocks women's advocates

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Women's rights advocates say they're shocked after a federal judge in Michigan ruled this week that a law protecting girls from genital mutilation was unconstitutional.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was among eight people charged in federal court in connection with the genital mutilation of nine girls from Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.

Most of the case was thrown out Tuesday, as Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that a law banning the practice was unconstitutional. He said Congress didn't have the power to regulate the issue.

Legal experts say the judge made clear that states have authority to ban the practice. But 23 states have no such ban.

The AHA Foundation works to protect women from genital mutilation. The group says it fears girls will now be brought to one of those states for the procedure.

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