North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden has introduced a clause to the Health and Care Bill, which seeks to ban virginity testing and repair surgery. Under the new law, doctors or midwives performing either or both procedures could face jail sentences in England and Wales.
According to medical experts, hymenoplasty surgery( restoring a layer of the membrane at the entrance to the vagina) and virginity testing (examining to see if the hymen is intact) is intrusive, abusive and unscientific.
A BBC investigation found British medical clinics offering virginity tests for £150-300. Conferring to the WHO, there is no evidence to prove whether a woman or girl has had sex because the hymen can tear for many reasons, including exercise and tampon use.
Aneeta Prem, the Freedom charity founder, described the practice as “abhorrent, abusive”. She also disclosed that an alarming number of girls, especially from South Asian backgrounds, are forced to take tests before arranged marriages.
She said, “We found that grooms’ families are not only asking for a picture of the prospective bride, her education attainments, but also a certificate to say she is a virgin.”
Prof Colin Melville, from the General Medical Council, said: “Doctors should not provide intimate examinations that are not clinically appropriate and should only do so if they consider them necessary and with the permission of the patient.
‘We would be very concerned to hear that a doctor had carried out a procedure against a patient’s wishes or without authority.
“Our guidance is clear; where a doctor has seriously or persistently breached our guidance, we can and do take action.”
By Grace Somuah-Annan|3news.com|Ghana