Penalize doctors who issue “virginity certificates” to women? The measure is expected to be included in the forthcoming separatism bill, which is due to be presented by the end of the year by the government. The announcement, made by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and the Minister responsible for citizenship, Marlène Schiappa, in an interview with Parisian on September 6, the health professionals, however directly concerned, were taken by surprise. What penalties will they incur, and on the basis of what offense? A week after the political declarations of the ministers, the outlines of this measure “In the process of being legally refined” are still unclear.
Beyond the setting to music of such a penalty, to what reality on the ground does this political will respond? How many virginity certificates are issued each year? Who makes the request? “By definition, there are few existing figures on this subject because most of it is underground. But each year, several cases are revealed ”, reports the Interior Ministry.
Marlène Schiappa’s entourage claims to work on this subject ” for months “. “We started when the minister was still at the secretary of state responsible for equality between women and men”, specifies his cabinet, which “Assume to lead this fight for the end of virginity certificates, as we did for excision”, and claims to have consulted with this in mind “Doctors, midwives, young girls”.
In 2003, the national medical council took up the issue and recommended “Refuse the examination and writing of such a certificate (…) having no medical justification and constituting a violation of respect for the personality and privacy of the young woman (especially a minor) forced by those around her to submit to it “. Since then, no assessment has been carried out that would qualify and quantify the phenomenon.
“These are extremely rare cases but they do exist, with more or less requests depending on the place of practice, and mainly religious requests”, valued Joëlle Belaisch-Allart, the elected president of the National College of French Gynecologists and Obstetricians, in favor of the penalization proposed by the government. “There is no reason to demand that a woman be a virgin at marriage, it is a practice from another time, violence against women which must no longer exist”, she states. ” Personally “, however, she believes that beyond the penalization of doctors, “What should not exist, and possibly be penalized, is demand”.
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