New York State will consider a bill banning “virginity testing”, after the controversy sparked by a rapper who claimed to take his daughter to the gynaecologist every year to check that she is still a virgin.
Democrat MP Michaelle Solages, who drafted the bill, says the tests undermine women’s rights and reinforce stereotypes about female sexuality.
“The hymen exams are not medically necessary, and have no scientific basis,” she told AFP. “They are often painful, humiliating, dramatic for girls or women, and are really a form of sexual violence,” she added.
The text, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, according to Solages, is due to be discussed by the lower house of the New York State Parliament in Albany in January.
If approved, doctors who perform these tests may lose the right to practice, the MP said. And if the test is done by a person who is not a health professional, it will be considered a sexual assault.
Several UN agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have called for the abolition of virginity tests, which are still frequently used in some 20 countries.
Beyond the humiliation associated with this review, the WHO stresses that the presence of the hymen in a woman does not prove that she has never had sex.
The hymen can also be broken without sexual intercourse, especially when using a tampon or activities such as riding or cycling, or during a medical examination. Some women are born without a hymen.
Atlanta rapper Clifford Harris, nicknamed TI and winner of three Grammys, revealed last month in a podcast taking his 18-year-old daughter to a gynaecologist for the exam every year, sparking a wave of indignation in the United States.