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July 18, 2021 – 16:06
The virginity test, where women are examined to see if the hymen (hymen) is intact, and surgeries to restore virginity will be outlawed in England and Wales.
North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden has introduced a clause in the Health and Care Act, which seeks to ban both proceedings.
Under the proposal, doctors or midwives performing one of the two services could face imprisonment, the BBC reports.
However, there are fears that if these procedures are criminalized, they could cross the black market, Zeri.info reports.
Medical experts say that hymenoplasty surgery, by restoring a layer of membrane at the entrance to the vagina, is intrusive, abusive and unscientific.
Holden decided to act after a BBC investigation found British medical clinics offering tests for 150-300.
Virginity testing is a human rights violation, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
Practiced in at least 20 countries, there is no evidence that a woman or girl has had sexual intercourse, the WHO says, because the hymen can be torn for many reasons, including the use of tampons and exercise.
Activists, including the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO), support a ban.
Aisha (not her real name) was forced to take a virginity test at a London clinic by her family shortly before her engagement, two years ago.
Her parents had arranged for her to marry a cousin in Pakistan, against her will.
“I failed the test,” she says.
And then, her brothers and her father hit and beat her.
She had brought “shame” on them, they said, asking her to perform hymenoplasty to restore “honor” to the family.
But after refusing to do the procedure, Aisha escaped from the family home.
IKWRO’s Payzee Mahmod, who launched the campaign against so-called honor-based violence after her sister Banaz was killed, said: “The girls are coming to us and letting us know they are being forced to go through these tests and they want to do this procedure to repair the hymen … the idea that if they are not virgins at their weddings, they will risk abuse based on honor which can have fatal consequences ”.
Other activists also report an increasing number of cases. / Voice