Citing an ongoing criminal investigation, the White House refused to comment Monday on the first ever prosecution of female genital mutilation [FGM] in the United States.
"We've talked before about pending investigations and we don't comment on any pending investigations or actions by the Justice Department," Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
Last week two doctors in Michigan were arrested by federal agents and are charged with FGM. Additionally, they are accused of conspiracy and lying to federal agents.
The Department of Justice indicted and arrested Detroit emergency room doctor Jumana Nagarwala on multiple charges Thursday, alleging she performed a number of illegal female genital mutilations (FGM) from 2005 and 2017. Her victims are minor girls, some as young as six years old.
“Despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco said in a statement. “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.”
According to the criminal complaint, Nagarwala performed the illegal and severe procedure in a "medical clinic" outside of the hospital, but did not receive payment and did not bill patients. The FBI classified her as a member of a specific religious community. Girls from neighboring Minnesota, at least one who was seven-years-old, were brought by their parents to Nagarwala for the procedure. They were also interviewed by the FBI and could face charges.
The minors were told they were being taken on a "girls trip." Once they arrived at the hotel, they were told they needed to go the doctor for a "stomach ache" and FGM was performed to "get the germs out."
At least one doctor, Dr. Nagarwala, is defending the procedure as standard religious practice.