CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s parliament is to vote on tougher penalties for female genital mutilation, after the Cabinet approved a bill to redefine it as a felony.
In a report carried on state news agency MENA on Sunday, the Health Ministry says that if passed, the new law would increase prison sentences for carrying out the procedure to between five and seven years, and up to 15 years if a child dies.
Female genital mutilation was criminalized in 2008 but remains widespread in Egypt.
In May, a 17-year-old girl died of a suspected stroke while under anesthesia during while undergoing female circumcision in the city of Suez.
The U.N. estimates at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone the procedure, with half of them in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.