New York state lawmakers are considering banning doctors from performing “virginity tests” after rapper T.I. revealed that he takes his daughter to the gynecologist every year to “check her hymen,” according to the New York Times.
The rapper appeared on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast last month, where the show’s hosts asked him whether or not he’s had the “sex talk” with his daughters.
“Not only have we had the conversation. We have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” he replied. “Yes, I go with her.”
His comments about his daughter, Deyjah, 18, sparked backlash and a national conversation about “virginity testing.” The World Health Organization has passionately opposed the practice for years and recommended it should be banned.
T.I.’s comments also caught the attention of New York lawmakers, like Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, a Democrat who introduced a bill last week to prohibit the practice, The New York Times reported.
“It made me angry and I was just very upset,” Solages said. “To use your platform to say that you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women’s movement back.”
The legislation would prohibit medical practitioners from performing virginity examinations. If the ban were breached, it would result in penalties for professional misconduct. Tests performed outside of a medical setting would be considered sexual assault, under the new proposal.
There is not currently a law that bans this type of procedure in the U.S., according to The New York Times. The procedure isn’t entirely uncommon, either. A 2016 survey of 288 doctors found that one in 10 had treated patients who requested virginity tests in the previous 12 months.
Solages told The New York Times that T.I.’s comments reminded her that virginity testing — which does happen often in other countries — still happens in the U.S., too.
“So when I heard that someone was using their power of purview to ensure that their daughter is a virgin, it made me realize that we have to be implementing laws to stop this,” Solages said.
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