By Associated Press - Sunday, February 25, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Female genital mutilation is already outlawed in the U.S., but some lawmakers want to create harsher penalties in Maine.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is backing a proposal by GOP Rep. Heather Sirocki, who says the fear of being called racist is preventing some professionals from reporting young patients with signs of female genital mutilation.

Democratic Rep. Barbara Cardone is proposing a similar bill that also addresses outreach services to immigrants.

The bills are set for a Monday public hearing.

The United Nations has condemned female circumcision, which is common in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Her bill would make the practice a Class A crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Female circumcision is already a federal crime punishable by five years in prison.

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