Roundup: Revirginization in Europe, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS

Brady Swenson

Muslim women in Europe increasingly seeking hymen reconstruction, Family planning a human right, HIV/AIDS pandemic a pervasive social problem.

Muslim Women in Europe Resorting to Revirginization … The New York Times published an article today looking reasons behind the increase in hymen restoration procedures for Muslim women in Europe.  The article says that many times Muslim men will demand that their wives be virgins on their wedding night, even going so far as to require a certificate of virginity before agreeing to the marriage.  A recent court case that upheld a marriage anullment based on the bride’s virginity status has helped lend legal legitimacy to the increased emphasis on a woman’s hymen, though the ruling is now being appealed in court:

The court ruling did not mention religion. Rather, it cited breach
of contract, concluding that the engineer had married her after “she
was presented to him as single and chaste.” In secular, republican
France, the case touches on several delicate subjects: the intrusion of
religion into daily life; the grounds for dissolution of a marriage;
and the equality of the sexes.

There were calls in Parliament
this week for the resignation of Rachida Dati, France’s justice
minister, after she initially upheld the ruling. Ms. Dati, who is a
Muslim, backed down and ordered an appeal.

Some feel that the court’s ruling is grossly unjust and regressive:

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“The judgment was a betrayal of France’s Muslim women,” said Elisabeth
Badinter, the feminist writer. “It sends these women a message of
despair by saying that virginity is important in the eyes of the law.
More women are going to say to themselves, ‘My God, I’m not going to
take that risk. I’ll recreate my virginity.’ ”

“We had a revolution in France to win equality; we had a sexual revolution in 1968 when women fought for contraception and abortion,”
said Dr. Jacques Lansac, the group’s leader. “Attaching so much
importance to the hymen is regression, submission to the intolerance of
the past.”

Family Planning a Historic Human Right … The Tucson Citizen has a short but worthy read on the 40-year history of family planning as a human right.  The commentary reflects on the progress made since family planning was declared a human right at the International Conference on Human Rights in Tehran in 1968 and notes that much progress, especially in equally enforcing the right, still remains to be realized.  

HIV/AIDS Pandemic Much More Than a Public Health Issue … Yesterday the UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerin said that the HI/AIDS crisis has grown beyond a public health issue and the curbing of the pandemic is now critical to "improving access to education, achieving gender equality and eradicating poverty
and hunger."



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