U.K. Bill Seeks to Ban Hymen Restoration Surgery and Virginity Testing

U.K. Bill Seeks to Ban Hymen Restoration Surgery and Virginity Testing

Healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom are reportedly looking to ban hymen repair surgeries and virginity testing.

On Monday, an update was added to the health and care bill in the U.K. The amendment would make it illegal for any hymen restoration procedure to take place, regardless of whether a woman consents to it or not. The push for the ban comes after doctors, midwives and advocates called out and supported the government’s promise to end virginity testing back in July 2021, The Guardian reports.

The U.K. has reportedly considered the procedures to be violent against women and girls due to some being shamed for not having an intact hymen. U.K. health professionals highlighted some women had been ostracized by their families for no longer being a “virgin,” despite possibly having gone through tragic incidents like rape.

“If hymenoplasty had been illegal when I was a teenager it would have saved me a lot of emotional abuse. I’m sure it will be a great comfort to vulnerable girls in a similar position to know that the law is on their side. It could give them the strength to stand up for themselves,” explained a woman in her 30s named Hafsah. Hafsah says her family pressured her to get the surgery after she was raped as a child. “I told them I didn’t want the surgery but for more than a year they used emotional blackmail to try to persuade me.”

Dr. Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says there’s no place for hymenoplasty in the medical arena. “We have been campaigning for the ban of both virginity testing and hymenoplasty alongside women’s health and rights charities, as they are inextricably linked forms of violence against women and girls,” he said, adding that “women deserve to have ownership over their own sexual and reproductive health. “We want to send a clear message to healthcare professionals that neither practice has any place in the medical world and should not be carried out under any circumstances. We will inform the General Medical Council if we are made aware of anyone carrying out these procedures, so they can take the appropriate action.”

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