NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A128
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to prohibiting
The purpose of the bill is to prevent the performance of examinations on
women that purport to ascertain whether a woman has previously had vagi-
Section 1. Amends the public health law by adding section 267-a.
Section 2. Sets the effective date.
According to the World Health Organization, "virginity testing" is an
inspection of the female genitalia meant to determine whether a woman or
girl has had vaginal intercourse. The term "virginity" is not a medical
or scientific term. The concept of virginity is a social, cultural and
religious construct that has historically been used to discriminate
against women and girls.
According to clinical experts, "virginity testing" is not a medically
indicated or valid examination or test. Physical examinations purported
to assess virginity are without basis. "Virginity testing" has been
associated with adverse psychosocial and physical outcomes and is
considered a violation of human rights by the international community.
Many women suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD due to "virginity
testing," and the practice is physically invasive and damaging. In cases
where this unscientific "test" reaps an unfavorable result to parents,
guardians, or partners, the consequences can result in emotional and
physical abuse for the woman or girl.
Although it is difficult to track its prevalence, a study in 2017 of
around 3000 obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States found
that 16% had been asked to perform "virginity tests" or "virginity
restoration." In many of these cases, a parent or guardian is making
these requests without their child knowing and the "test" is performed
without explanation and therefore nonconsensual. The United Nations,
along with the World Health Organization, U.N. Women and U.N. Human
Rights, called for a global ban on the practice. Indeed, according to
the World Health Organization's 2018 interagency statement calling for
the elimination of "virginity testing," a number of medical profes-
sionals, health care associations, and human rights organizations have
explicitly condemned "virginity testing" as unscientific and harmful.
This legislation would ban so-called "virginity tests," ending a harmful
practice that is being perpetrated against women and girls in New York
RACIAL JUSTICE IMPACT:
While tracking the use of "virginity tests" is difficult, it is clear
that this practice impacts women and girls of various races and ethnici-
ties. Further, a shameful history of exploiting the bodies of women of
color for pseudoscience in the United States emphasizes the need to ban
all forms of "virginity tests" that may contribute to abuse steeped in
GENDER JUSTICE IMPACT:
This legislation seeks to explicitly ban the gendered issue of "virgini-
ty tests" that has been utilized to perpetuate gender violence against
women and girl's for centuries. In addition, this bill will ensure that
these invasive and unscientific exams will not be utilized against non-
binary or transgender people that could face dysmorphia or purposeful
discrimination of their identity by such practices.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2021-22: A5517; passed assembly.
2019-20: A8742; referred to health.
This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it
shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2023-2024 Regular Sessions
January 4, 2023
Introduced by M. of A. SOLAGES, HEVESI, JACOBSON, WALLACE, SIMON, DeSTE-
FANO, BICHOTTE HERMELYN, SEAWRIGHT, SILLITTI, DINOWITZ, ZINERMAN,
L. ROSENTHAL, DAVILA, BARRETT, CRUZ, OTIS -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.
of A. THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Health
AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to prohibiting
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section
2 267-a to read as follows:
3 § 267-a. Prohibition of virginity examinations. No person shall
4 perform a physical examination purporting to determine whether an indi-
5 vidual has previously had vaginal intercourse.
6 § 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
7 it shall have become a law.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.