England and Wales to ban "virginity repair" surgery on women's hymens 3 months ago

England and Wales to ban "virginity repair" surgery on women's hymens

Many doctors have described the practice as unscientific and abusive.

England and Wales are set to ban "virginity testing", as well as hymenoplasty - a procedure which restores the layer of membrane at the entrance to a woman or girl's vagina.

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Richard Holden, a North West Durham Conservative MP, introduced a clause to the Health and Care Bill which would outlaw both practices.

Under his proposal, medical practitioners performing either procedure could face a prison sentence. Some worry, however, that this may result in increased danger for some women if the practice goes underground.

Medical experts have described the practice of hymenoplasty as being unscientific and abusive.

Additionally, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations have said that virginity testing is a violation of human rights.

On top of that, WHO has said that there is no evidence to suggest that the practice can prove that a woman has had sex, given that a number of non-sexual activities can lead to a tear in the hymen.

Mr Holden's proposed ban came after a BBC investigation revealed that some British medical clinics were offering tests as well as hymenoplasty.

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The investigation got in touch with 16 clinics who all admitted to offering the "virginity repair" surgery, which can cost up to £3,000.

Karma Nirvana, the organisation that worked alongside the BBC, highlighted the danger of the practice of "virginity repair". The group also pointed to the fact that "virginity" is a social construct routed in shame.

They said: "We believe that every woman deserves the right to make any decision about her body – free from shame, stigma or discrimination, without pressure to subscribe to ‘gender-based societal norms’, and without fear of harm.

"This is why we are campaigning to end the practice of virginity testing and hymen repair, in addition to tackling the shame and stigma commonly associated to ‘virginity’. ‘Virginity’ is a deeply embedded social norm that has no scientific basis."

They added: "It is time to ban the invasive, sexist practice of testing a girl’s or woman’s virginity, and to shut down the virginity myth once and for all. As part of this campaign, in addition to improving law and policy in this area, we are keen to break the myths that perpetuate harmful ideologies on virginity and the hymen."

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