ST. PAUL -- Some members of Minnesota's immigrant and refugee communities are opposing legislation that would impose stiff penalties for parents involved in female genital mutilation, slowing the bill's momentum in the Legislature.

Nonprofit group Isuroon, the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage and other groups say the legislation carries overly harsh punishment and unintended consequences. They say it's possible newcomers from countries where genital cutting is common wouldn't seek medical care and other services for their children.

Advocates are calling for a less punitive approach focused on educating parents.

The author of the bill's Senate version now is hesitating on approving the legislation.

Republican Rep. Mary Franson, who introduced the bill in the House, says the Senate is being pressured from groups "more concerned with perception than doing the right thing and protecting girls.''