"The summer months are a big time for new hymens," notes a recent story from Denmark, one of many European countries that see more Muslims undergoing "virginity restoration" prior to marriage. A French woman of Moroccan descent illuminates the typical motive: "In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt."

Take, for example, a controversial annulment ruling that has gripped French society:

The case … involved an engineer in his 30s, named as Mr. X, who married Ms. Y, a student nurse in her 20s, in 2006. The wedding night party was still under way at the family's home in Roubaix when the groom came down from the bedroom complaining that his bride was not a virgin. He could not display the blood-stained sheet that is traditionally exhibited as proof of the bride's "purity."

Their marriage was annulled on the grounds that the bride had deceived the groom, but a court just overturned the order and will issue a new decision.

Many cultures place a strong emphasis on virginity. That is acceptable. Enforcing it through violence, or the threat of violence, is not. Consider one Muslim woman who chose the operation after an eight-year relationship with a boyfriend had come to an end:

"I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin," said the woman. … "He told me, 'I will forgive everything, but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.' I wasn't afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me."

Worse, European taxpayers increasingly foot the bill for these procedures. Last year it was revealed that Britain's publicly funded National Health Service performs hymenoplasties. Some local governments in Denmark are now paying for them as well:

Flemming Sommer, in charge of welfare [for Furesø], … 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.

The conservative Danish People's Party has pointed out the obvious: why not focus on the real source of the "security" problem by punishing the families that threaten these women?

As any doctor can testify, proper treatment begins with addressing the disease, not merely the symptoms.