New York state is considering banning so-called virginity tests after an American rapper sparked outcry by saying he takes his daughter to a gynecologist every year to check her hymen is still intact.
Democratic legislator Michaelle Solages has tabled a bill proposing the ban, saying the examination, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says has no scientific basis, amounted to sexual violence.
“Hymen exams are not medically necessary. They are often painful and humiliating,” Solages told AFP.
WHO called for the practise to be stopped last year, noting that the appearance of a woman’s hymen cannot prove whether they have had sexual intercourse.
The hymen is a thin tissue that surrounds or partially covers the entrance to the vagina. It can be damaged in many ways, such as riding a horse, and not all women are born with them.
Rapper T.I., a three-time Grammy winner whose real name is Clifford Harris, told a podcast last month that he took annual trips to a gynecologist with his daughter, now 18.
The Atlanta rapper, 39, said he tells the doctor to check her hymen and “give me back my results expeditiously.”
“T.I.’s comments… and the examination he does on his daughter is unacceptable. He sends a message saying women are property and that’s wrong,” said Solages.
Her bill, which she says has bipartisan support, will be debated in January when the assembly returns from recess.
If it is approved, then any doctor who carries out the examination will lose their license. Others could be charged with sexual assault.
The tests are common in socially conservative countries where being a virgin is a prerequisite to marriage.
T.I. has served two terms in jail on possession of weapons and drugs charges.
© Agence France-Presse