Female Genital Mutilation Survivors In The U.S. Are Fighting Back

When Jane was about 9, her mother drove her and her friend to a Houston strip mall. She told Jane there was something dirty on their bodies that needed to be cleaned. There, in an empty room, a woman subjected them to female genital mutilation.

“I remember feeling pain for a good three weeks after that. I was continuously bleeding, it hurt to use the restroom,” Jane, who is now 28, said. “It was never something that was discussed even after it happened.”

Jane, who spoke anonymously to protect her family’s identity, is one of a growing number of American survivors breaking the silence on the centuries-old practice of FGM. Despite reports of FGM being performed on Americans, in December a Michigan district judge struck down a federal ban on the practice, leaving girls in many states at increased risk. In April, President Trump’s Department of Justice ignited outrage by declining to appeal the case.

VICE News talks to survivors turned activists about how they are advocating for change and providing safe spaces for others like them.

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Gina Rodriguez on ‘Jane the Virgin’ legacy

Gina Rodriguez says her show “Jane the Virgin” joined others in changing the way Hispanic families were seen on TV in the U.S. The series finale is expected this summer. (May 17)

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Trump’s Administration Is Blocking An Undocumented Teen From Having An Abortion (HBO)

There have been further delays in the case of Jane Doe, an undocumented 17 year old from Central America who has fought the Trump administration to get an abortion in Texas. On Wednesday, Jane Doe received an initial victory from a district judge who chastised federal officials for their treatment of Jane Doe and ruled that she had a legal right to the abortion. This morning Jane was released from her federally-contracted shelter and escorted to an abortion clinic, where she received a counseling in anticipation of an abortion procedure she scheduled for Friday. But as her appointment ended, Jane and her legal team learned that the DC District Court of Appeals granted the Justice Department a temporary administrative stay on her case.

Jane Doe has desired an abortion since early September and has raised private funds to cover the procedure’s cost. On September 25 she received a bypass from a Texas state judge, granting her the right to go forward with her appointments. Her shelter has refused to comply, as the federal government has argued that undocumented minors in their facilities don’t have a right to abortion. According to her attorneys, Jane has been constantly surveilled by shelter staff and has been given pro-life counseling instead. Jane Doe is now 15 weeks pregnant in a state that denies abortions beyond 20 weeks. 

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