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Bill To Outlaw Nonconsensual Pelvic Exams Passes Arizona House Health Committee

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 3:25pm
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A bill that would make it illegal to perform pelvic exams on unconscious patients without medical need or consent has unanimously passed the Health Committee of the Arizona House.

For years, OB/GYN training for some medical students has included performing pelvic exams on women under anesthesia for unrelated medical procedures.

The assessment involves one or more students in turn inserting two gloved fingers into the woman's vagina, feeling around her abdomen and pelvis, and conducting a rectal exam, all without the patient's consent or knowledge.

"Every single woman I spoke to told me that she would feel extremely violated if she learned that such an exam had been performed on her without her knowledge or consent while under anesthesia," said medical ethicist Rebecca Wolf.

House Bill 2150, which was introduced by Reps. Nancy Barto and Frank Carroll, would outlaw the practice unless the patient gives prior informed consent or unless it is medically necessary.

It now goes to the House Public Safety Committee.