A tattoo parlor in Canada is suspected of performing genital surgery, specifically labia reduction. In Ontario, Canada, it is illegal for a person who is not a 'regulated health professional' to perform labia reduction.
According to Guelph Police Service Senior Constable Kevin King a person who is not a registered health professional and performs genital cosmetic surgery, including labia reduction, could face charges ranging from "aggravated assault to contravention of the provincial Regulated Health Professionals Act."
In medical terms labia reduction is known as labiaplasty and defined thusly:
Labiaplasty is for women who have a problem with large labia, asymmetric labia or related female genital issues. Labiaplasty permits the reduction of large labia ... to reduce their outward appearance and correct misshapenness or irregularities.
In the popular media they are often referred to as 'designer vaginas'.
Labiaplasty being performed in an appropriate, medical setting can be seen here.
The Regulated Health Professionals Act prohibits anyone other than a Regulated Health Professional from performing “controlled” acts, which include “performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis [skin]" and “putting an instrument, hand or finger beyond the labia majora [outer lips of the vagina].” Where the labia minora or inner vaginal lips of the subject individual are extremely large the person conducting the labia reduction might be able to claim that at no time did they 'put an instrument, hand or finger beyond the labia majora.' However, the genital cosmetic procedure of labia reduction definitely contravenes the prohibition against 'performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis.'
The incident came to light when an unknown individual or individuals put together a package "that contained photos, an unsigned letter of complaint and a DVD showing a labia reduction procedure being performed." On March 2, 2010 similar packages were also delivered to Guelph City Hall and the Guelph Mercury.
The report in the Mercury gave a brief description of the DVD included in the package:
There appears to be at least four people in the room and heavy-metal music blares in the background obscuring conversation. Hands and arms with distinct tattoos are visible but views of faces are fleeting and unclear.
People in the room know the procedure is being taped. They make reference to “edit that out” and “the guy with the camera.”
The woman moans, gasps and says “Ow” several times while receiving the needles. She says she feels nothing while the cuts are made, but cries and yells “Oh my God” and “I want to go home” repeatedly while being sutured.
Eileen Grattan is a Guelph resident who recently had her nose pierced at a local tattoo studio. Wearing a discrete silver stud in her nose during an interview on March 18 she expressed disgust at genital cosmetic surgery and assurance that the procedure was not performed at the tattoo and piercing studio where she had had her nose pierced: "I don't understand why anyone would have that done and they must be crazy to do it if it is not for a medical reason and in a medical setting. She added, "the Guelph Mercury says the procedure was performed by a woman and the piercer at my studio [Nighthawk] is a man. Also they do not play loud heavy metal music in the studio I had my nose pierced at."
Digital Journalist Betty Kowall also had multiple piercings done at a local tattoo and piercing studio in Guelph. "Dave, the man who does all of my piercings, would never consider such a stupid move," she stated confidently and emphatically.
The Guelph Police Services are actively investigating the incident and expect to lay charges soon. The DVD they received does not show the faces of the perpetrators clearly. However, it does show their hands and arms, that are covered in many very distinctive tattoos.
The penalty for a first offense under the Regulated Health Professionals Act could include a maximum $25,000 fine or a maximum of one year in jail or both.