In one of my previous posts I commented on some of the medical conditions now treatable on the NHS that were perhaps not quite what Bevan had in mind when he brought the NHS into existence.
To the list of these conditions I think can be added the operation of hymenoplasty, an operation to restore a ruptured hymen, in order to convey the illusion of virginity. My use of the word illusion is quite deliberate. You can restore the anatomy but virginity, once gone is gone forever.
This is not an uncommon procedure in the private sector, with a typical cost of £4000, but it is also increasingly being done on the NHS, most commonly on moslem women who need their husband to believe in the wife’s virginity on the wedding night.
Before my stance is misinterpreted I have to say that I am entirely in sympathy with this procedure being done on the NHS. I disagree totally with those who feel that this is a purely cosmetic procedure. Bearing in mind that many of these women live in a situation where “honour killing” is a very real threat, even in the UK, I think there is a strong argument that this is in fact a life saving procedure.
Honour killing is a strange term. I don’t see much honour in a group of armed men targeting and murdering a single defenceless woman. Is there a similar sanction against a man who is not a virgin on his wedding night? Presumably he is taken to one side and told he is a very naughty boy.