New York state is considering a ban on “virginity tests” after rapper T.I. said he takes his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist each year to check that she still has her hymen.
T.I.’s comments, which were aired on a now-deleted podcast episode, led to outrage directed at the rapper and questions about the practice. Many gynecologists have not only debunked “virginity tests” by saying the hymen has no relation to whether someone is sexually active, but have also said these “tests” are a violation of a woman’s body.
T.I., 39, has since walked back his comments and said the conversation was “very joking.” His daughter deleted all of her social media accounts after the podcast was released.
Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages said T.I.’s comments made her “very angry” and “very upset,” and inspired the bill that she introduced last week to ban the practice.
“To use your platform to say that you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women’s movement back,” Solages, a Democrat from Long Island, said, according to The New York Times.
If the bill passes, any medical professional who performs these tests could face professional misconduct penalties and possible criminal charges.
“This practice is already happening. T.I. proved this practice is already happening,” Solages said, according to NBC News. “T.I. basically endorsed the practice by saying very openly and casually that he had this exam performed on his daughter.”
Solages said the bill would make sure that “women and girls across New York state are not traumatized or humiliated in having this medically unnecessary test performed on them.”
The bill already has three co-sponsors in the Assembly, and the New York Senate has matching legislation.
In Oct. 2018, the World Health Organization, in conjunction with the United Nations Human Rights and United Nations Women called for the end of “virginity testing” based on the lack of “scientific basis” and the “violation of the human rights of girls and women.”
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