Outlaw ‘medieval’ virginity testing in the UK, ministers told
Proposals to outlaw “medieval” virginity testing in the UK have cleared their first parliamentary hurdle.
Conservative Richard Holden cited the World Health Organisation and said there is “no scientific evidence at all” to support the testing.
He added 21 clinics have been identified in the UK and charge between £150 and £300 for the procedure.
MPs allowed Mr Holden to introduce his Virginity Testing (Prohibition) Bill for further consideration in the Commons.
Addressing the chamber, Mr Holden (North West Durham) said: “When I have mentioned to MPs and constituents that so-called virginity testing is still taking place, their reaction has been universally the same – how?
“How is this medieval practice still taking place in modern Britain?”
Mr Holden praised a BBC investigation for highlighting the issue, adding: “How are we in a position where virginity testing is still taking place in the UK when Britain has clearly shown a strong lead on other issues internationally, like on female genital mutilation?”
After he highlighted the lack of evidence to support the procedure, he went on: “This should be banned on the basis of fraud alone.
“But there is a second bigger question about what it says about us as a society if we allow this practice to continue.
“What does it say about our attitudes towards what is acceptable towards women.
“Women aren’t objects to be examined, tested and selected by men.”
Mr Holden warned there are also physical and psychological effects from the “harmful” procedure.
He asked for his Bill to return for further consideration on January 8, although it will struggle to become law in its current form if it does not receive Government support due to a lack of parliamentary time.