Position Statement – 2024
A.128 (Solages) / S.931 (Persaud)
The Prohibition of Virginity Examinations
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) staunchly supports A.128 (Solages)/S.931 (Persaud), amending Public Health Law to prohibit virginity examinations.
This bill would amend Public Health Law to add Section 267-a, prohibiting the performance of virginity examinations purporting to determine whether an individual has previously had vaginal intercourse.
“Virginity testing is a highly invasive and entirely unscientific practice rooted in a patriarchal obsession with women’s ‘purity.’” In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization and the United Nations, calls for the elimination of virginity testing, stating it is “not a medically indicated or valid procedure and its practice raises important ethical concerns” and is “associated with adverse psychosocial and physical outcomes and is considered to be a violation of human rights.”
The tradition of hymen or virginity examinations being performed on unmarried women and girls, often under force, threat, or coercion, to purportedly assess their virtue and honor, is blatantly discriminatory and reinforces the pervasive norm perpetuating females’ inequality while also serving as a method to exercise control over women and girls. This testing is a violation of well-established human rights, such as the right to be protected from sex discrimination and the right to security of person, including physical integrity. No state has successfully passed this prohibition. WBASNY urges New York to be the first in the nation to end this barbaric and degrading testing.