According to a recent survey of medical students commissioned by Elle Magazine, over 60 percent of them reported performing a pelvic exam without explicit patient consent.

State Senator Roxanne Persaud of Flatbush and and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages decided to do something about it. The two co-sponsored legislation that makes it an act of professional misconduct for a provider to supervise or perform a pelvic exam on an anesthetized or unconscious patient without first obtaining the patient’s informed consent.

On October 7, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed signed the bill into law, making New York the 9th state to end the practice of non-consensual pelvic exams. The new law, which will take effect 180 days, prohibits a doctor from administering a non-consensual pelvic exam unless it is part of the medical procedure or the patient is unconscious and it is medically necessary and required for diagnosis. 

“Pelvic exams, while a necessity, should not be used as an arbitrary teaching tool at the whim of medical practitioners,” said Sen. Persaud. “A patient has enough to worry about when surgery is needed, without the additional trauma of wondering if multiple persons who are not on their medical team will invade their most private body parts. Informed consent will prevent this from happening. No one should have to worry about what unauthorized procedure can be done to their anesthetized body.”

Assemblywoman Solages called the practice intrusive: “With trust being so vital to the healthcare profession, New York State must take every measure possible to ensure that medical procedures meet the highest ethical standards. I am proud to join Senator Persaud and the Governor in banning this invasive practice and codifying an added layer of protection for patients.” 

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