US drops appeal dismissing female genital mutilation charges

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DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department won't appeal a decision by a Detroit federal judge who threw out female genital mutilation charges against members of a Muslim sect.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco calls it an "especially heinous practice."

But in a letter to Congress, he says the law needs to be changed to be constitutional under U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Judge Bernard Friedman in November said the law was
unconstitutional because Congress didn't have power to regulate genital mutilation.

The government pulled its appeal on March 30.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused of performing genital mutilation on nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic.

She denies any crime and says she performed a religious custom.

The girls were from Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

There still are other charges in the case.