Home Opinions Archaic and degrading medical tests have no place in Quebec

Archaic and degrading medical tests have no place in Quebec

by Tiffany Lafleur October 22, 2013 0 comment
Archaic and degrading medical tests have no place in Quebec

One would think that in the 21st century, in one of the most developed countries in the world, society would be past such antiquated notions as “female purity.” This is apparently not the case.

After learning of four cases in which doctors were asked to perform “virginity tests” in the past 18 months, the Quebec college of physicians is warning doctors to stop the practice.

Photo by Flickr user Anusca76

College president Dr. Charles Bernard has expressed his strong opinion against the practice, calling it out as being repugnant, irrelevant and unacceptable.

“Imagine a doctor who does a gynecological examination with the sole purpose of … it goes beyond the imagination. And it’s degrading to women,” Bernard was quoted as saying in the National Post.

Some doctors have admitted to giving fake chastity tests without examination in order to preserve a girl’s honor. There have also been cases of doctors performing surgery in order to restore the hymen, again in the name of honor.

According to the College, the procedure breeches doctor patient confidentiality as well as the college’s code of ethics, which prevent interference in a patient’s private life. Doctors who issue “virginity certificates” will now face disciplinary charges.

The practice of issuing virginity certificates is most common in countries such as Egypt, India, and Indonesia, where traditions dictate that women are expected to remain pure until marriage.

Reducing a woman to her virginity is archaic, and the highest type of double standard there is. A woman’s body is hers and hers alone, and she can do what she wants with it. No one needs society breathing down their necks pressuring them to do something they don’t want. Not only that, but staking her honor on whether or not she’s had sex is almost juvenile. You’d think that in a free and democratic society such as ours the social stigma of a woman’s sexual activities would be in the past. This is especially true when virginity in itself is more of a cultural myth rather than an actual biological state of being.

With the concept of virginity being so vague, it’s hard to even define what it is as the definition is different from person to person, rendering the concept useless and only causing disagreement.

The hymen is perhaps the most misunderstood part of a woman’s body. Its bottom-line use isn’t as a token of purity. In fact, an article published on Discovery Health4 states that doctors aren’t too sure what the biological purpose is really.

Sex isn’t the only thing that will break a hymen, other causes are masturbation, the use of tampons, and exercise. There is widespread belief that horseback riding and cycling can also cause the hymen to break, however that remains to be proven.

All in all, these virginity tests and certificates need to stop. Just as men are free to choose what they do with their bodies, women have the same choice. Those choices should come without having the weight and stress of society looking down on them, especially in our so-called free and open society. The Quebec college of physicians should do everything they can to put an end to this ancient and unnecessary practice.

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