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The invasive, sexist practice of “testing” girls’ virginity

The good news is that Canadian health officials have ordered doctors to stop testing patients to confirm their virginity. The bad news is that this practice still goes on at all.

In a virginity check, a woman or girl is examined internally to determine if her hymen is intact. On Friday, the Montreal Gazette reported that the Quebec College of Physicians has firmly warned doctors to stop the practice after healthcare workers reported "five incidents of families seeking virginity checks in the last 18 months in Quebec." In one of the incidents, a school nurse reported that a student said she'd been forced to go to a clinic where "The physician was pressured by the family in the emergency room. The father was very insistent about having the certificate, and to get rid of the problem, the doctor did it." Charles Bernard, president of the Collège des Médecins, told the Gazette this weekend, "Imagine a doctor who does a gynecological examination with the sole purpose of ... it goes beyond the imagination. And it’s degrading to women."

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