These states allow medical students to perform pelvic exams on unconscious patients WITHOUT their consent.

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Every state besides California, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Hawaii

A 2019 survey of 101 medical students from seven American medical schools found that 92 percent had performed a pelvic exam on anesthetized female patients, and 61 percent of those surveyed reported not having explicit consent from patients before performing those exams. 

States including California, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Hawaii have already passed laws mandating certain standards for pelvic exams when a patient is under anesthesia. It's past-time for every state in the U.S. to outlaw this practice and protect every patient's right to informed consent. Sign the petition to demand a ban on this abusive practice!

Non-consensual pelvic exams often happen in teaching hospitals in states that allow medical students to perform these exams on unconscious patients without their consent or knowledge. Hospitals will often use vague consent forms that reference students being "involved" in a patient's care without specifying they may perform invasive, vaginal exams.

Making matters worse, healthcare disparities, systemic medical racism, and differences in care for uninsured patients put vulnerable populations at a higher risk for non-consensual, invasive exams. BIPOC and or low-income patients are more likely to receive care at teaching hospitals where these non-consensual exams happen due to a patient's lack of healthcare options. Moreover, patients at teaching hospitals often do not receive patient consent forms in their preferred language, and are expected to sign whatever forms they are given without a translator present. 

This predatory practice does not have to be the norm for medical students. In fact, a number of medical schools will pay "pelvic trainers" -- adults who have consented to receiving a pelvic exam -- for students' educational purposes. This should be the standard for all medical schools moving forward. 

Sign the petition today to join our call on state lawmakers to introduce and pass legislation that bans nonconsensual, invasive exams under anesthesia and requires  all medical students and professionals to receive specific, informed consent prior to performing pelvic exams.
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