The majority of women undergoing this procedure are Muslim and are from both France and North Africa. The main draw to this procedure is that, for many of these women, religion dictates that they be virgins at the time they are married. Yet, religious doctrine does not provide a stance on whether or not this surgical procedure is considered acceptable. In fact, all that the head of the Union of French Islamic Organisations will say on the matter is, “If someone committed a sin, the essential thing is to repent.”
“The surgery is an attack on women’s dignity. We will not take part in a market that places value on the quality of a woman – if she’s good or not. It is an attack on women’s liberty.” - Professor Jacque Lansac, President of The National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in of France
Many women are also deciding to undergo the procedure for cultural reasons, with many coming from families that believe strongly in remaining a virgin until married. This procedure, which costs anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, allows them to effectively become virgins again and to avoid disappointing their fiancés and their families.
Several doctors and activists view this procedure as a slap in the face of women’s rights and liberty. In addition, there is much debate surrounding the procedure being done in state hospitals since France has laws in place that separate church and state.