Required gynecological test for women drivers dropped

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuania's Health Ministry on Tuesday scrapped a Soviet-era rule requiring that women undergo gynecological examinations to qualify for a driver's license.

An ombudsman office in the former Soviet Baltic republic recently declared the provision discriminatory since men aren't asked to take an equivalent medical test.

"It should have been revoked a long time ago," Ausrine Burneikiene, who heads the office, said. "This requirement made our country look more than strange."

The Health Ministry announced its decision to strike the rule from the books after carrying out a five-month study.

Burneikiene rebuffed a few officials who argued that certain diseases in women could cause sufficient pain to inhibit driving.

"A majority of our consultants said there are no specific female diseases that could hinder women from driving," she said.

Lithuania, which regained independence during the 1991 Soviet collapse, has endeavored to bring its laws into line with Western European standards in its bid to join the 15-nation European Union.

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