Brendan Clarke-Smith MP calls on the Government to ban so-called ‘virginity tests’ and hymenoplasty
Brendan Clarke-Smith MP, has joined a cross-party coalition of MPs and women’s rights organisations in backing New Clause 1 & 2 to the Health and Care Bill, to ban so-called ‘virginity testing’ and the practice of hymen ‘repair’ surgery.
So-called ‘virginity tests’ and the practice of hymen ‘repair’ surgery are both currently legal and are being conducted by doctors in the UK to ‘check’ or ‘restore’ the virginity of a woman, often prior to an arranged marriage.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that so-called ‘virginity testing’ is: “A violation of the victims human rights and is associated with both immediate and long-term consequences that are detrimental to her physical, psychological and social well-being.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) strongly oppose the practices of virginity testing and hymenoplasty on the grounds that neither is medically required in any circumstance and support both the new clauses.
New Clause 1 and New Clause 2 have received support from over 50 MPs from all main parties.
The Government has committed to work to ‘criminalise virginity testing’ through their recently published strategy on tackling violence against women and girls.
However, many Women’s rights organisations such as Karma Nirvana, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are calling for both virginity tests and hymenoplasty to be banned at the same time in law.
RCOG and RCM said they want to see virginity testing and hymenoplasty banned in the UK. “We are very concerned that women are either being coerced into having these procedures or feel pressurised into having them so they can bleed during sex and can demonstrate they are a virgin on their wedding night.”
Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “Women and girls deserve to grow up free from notions of ‘breaking their womanhood’ so they ‘bleed on their wedding night’. These traumatic practices have no basis in medical science, harm women and girls and perpetuate dangerous myths of ‘purity’.
“We must act now to stop both ‘virginity testing’ and hymen ‘repair’ surgery. That’s why I am backing New Clause 1&2 to the Health and Care Bill as I call on the Government to end this violence against women and girls for good”.