Denmark: Municipalities pay for virginity operations

Among some immigrant groups a girl who had lost her virginity has trouble getting married. In some cases doctors, gynecologists or social workers think that the woman is in a life threatening situation, and so create a new hymen, with the bill sent to the municipality or region.

Gynecologist Lasse Raaberg is one such doctor. In the past 10 years, in respectively Rigshospitalet and the Odense University hospital, he has done about 10 hymenoplasties.

He says that before performing the operation it was always deliberated with other doctors. If thinks that it should be decided case by case whether the operation is appropriate, since the world isn't black and white.

Furesø municipality has chosen to pay for a hymenoplasty at a private clinic several times last year.

Flemming Sommer, in charge of welfare, doesn't want to comment on the specific cases, but says that if social workers think that an operation is needed for security reasons - for example, if the girl might be otherwise expelled from her family or killed - then the municipality will pay for it.

Morten Lebech, head of the Danish Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is aware that municipalities pay for hymenoplasties.

Gynecologist Christina Felding has prepared invoices for municipalities for such operations, which cost about 4,500 kroner.

For that amount women can hide their active sex-life. In some cultures women must show blood on the sheets after the wedding night, and if she can't, she risks being labeled a fornicator.

Christina Aamand, nurse, social worker and author of "Mødom på mode" (virginity in fashion), thinks this doesn't legitimize why municipalities pay for the operation.

She says that by doing so society agrees on the value of virginity and indirectly tells the girls that there really is a problem that should be corrected. This does the girls a disservice, she says, and calls it reprehensible.

Martin Henriksen of the DPP (Danish People's Party) wants to ban the practice.

Henriksen says it's so absurd, he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. He thinks that the families in question should be punished for women's oppression and threats and that the girls should naturally get help to leave their family if they so wish.

Sources: DR, Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

See also: Belgium: Hymenoplasty

No comments: