Wed | Jan 29, 2020

Rapper T.I.’s remarks spark New York bill to end virginity tests

Published:Thursday | December 5, 2019 | 1:40 PM
In this November 1, 2014, file photo, rapper T.I. performs before the start of an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York could bar doctors from performing so-called virginity tests under legislation prompted by the rapper T.I.’s controversial claim that he has a gynaecologist check his daughter’s hymen annually.

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said Tuesday the bill she submitted last month would prohibit medical professionals from performing or supervising such examinations, though it’s unclear how common they are in the US.

New York would also consider it sexual assault when such tests are performed outside of a medical setting.

“It’s medically unnecessary,” the Democrat said.

“It’s often painful, humiliating, traumatic. All in all, it’s a form of violence against women.”

Her bill has attracted support from three Democratic lawmakers, and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration officials called the practice “disturbing.”

Solages said no other states have such bans.

The World Health Organization, U.N. Women and the U.N. Human Rights office called for the end of the tests worldwide last year.

They said the testing often involves inspecting the hymen or inserting fingers into the vagina.

T.I., also known as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., drew criticism when he said in a November episode of the podcast “Ladies like Us” that he asked a gynaecologist to check his teenage daughter’s hymen shortly after her birthday each year.

She is now 18.

“I put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30,’” Harris said.

After his comments prompted backlash on social media, he told Jada Pinkett Smith on the Facebook interview show Red Table Talk he’d been exaggerating and that “he was never in any exam room.”

 

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