A group opposed to female genital mutilation on Thursday began the process of getting the question put to a referendum vote on a statewide ballot in 2019.

Prevent FGM in Maine political action committee said in a news release that it has filed legislation and requested authorization from the Secretary of State’s Office to start circulating a petition asking voters if they want to prevent female genital mutilation in Maine.

While female genital mutilation is federally illegal, Maine is among several states does not have a state law banning the practice.

If approved, the group’s bill will make it a Class A crime to perform female genital mutilation on a female under the age of 18, to knowingly transport a female under that age out of state for the procedure, or to knowingly consent to mutilation of a female under 18.

The proposed legislation would also require the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to develop and institute a community outreach program that provides support services, training and educational materials.

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