NationWide

Bills & Petitions

How We Are Making An Impact.

The AYC Team is joining with survivors, advocates, activists, legislators, professors, medical students, doctors, and bioethicists to get laws passed in every state protecting people from non-consensual intimate exams.

State Bans

Twenty-five states have now passed laws banning either non-consensual pelvic exams or all non-consensual intimate exams (pelvic, prostate, and rectal). California was the first to pass a law banning non-consensual pelvic exams in 2003. Five other states (Virginia, Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, and Iowa) followed, passing their own laws between the years 2003 and 2017. The movement gained traction in 2019, partially as a result of #MeToo, with many other states quickly moving to pass their own consent laws. The majority of consent laws have been passed in the years between 2018 and 2023, and our team has continued to advocate for laws that provide protections for all intimate exams on patients of all genders as well as other key provisions – such as a carefully outlined consent process and whistleblower protections for medical students. 

In 2023, Colorado unanimously passed the most comprehensive and robust consent law in the United States. At Your Cervix is proud to have initiated, co-authored, and lobbied for the passage of that bill, in coalition with a team of amazing legislators, advocates, medical students, and organizers. Please have a look at this incredible new consent law for yourself right here. Our aim is that the Colorado law becomes the model for other states as we continue our work to pass effective and comprehensive laws banning non-consensual intimate examinations throughout the country. 

Unfortunately, many of the laws already on the books are not robust enough to end this unethical practice, and require amending in order to strengthen the protections they offer patients and include protections for medical students who report non-consensual intimate exams. We look forward to working with advocates, organizers, patients, survivors, physicians and other healthcare professionals, medical students, and legislators to do so.

Ultimately, our mission is to ensure that every single state adopts and implements robust consent legislation that will ensure a safe, dignified, and respectful healthcare experience for all patients, and a safe, effective, and holistic medical education for all students.

States Requiring Consent for Intimate Examinations

Petitions, Bills & Campaigns in Motion

Massachusetts

 ​Massachusetts has been trying to pass legislation requiring consent for pelvic examinations since 2019. Recently, legislators have expanded the latest version of the bill to require consent for ALL intimate examinations (pelvic, prostate, and rectal), which is a win. The At Your Cervix team is working with Massachusetts legislators to both offer our support and advocate for the strongest version of the bill possible that will provide the most comprehensive protections for patients and medical students alike. This includes incorporating provisions such as whistleblower protections for students and staff who witness or are instructed to perform intimate exams without explicit consent and third-party oversight and accountability mechanisms.

Dr. Ari Silver-Isenstadt, MD (main character in At Your Cervix), A’magine (director/producer of At Your Cervix) and Rohini Kousalya Siva (President of the American Medical Student Association – AMSA) testified recently before the Massachusetts Joint Public Health Committee. You can listen to their testimonies here. The bill has been voted out of the Public Health committee, but unfortunately it has been watered down and our recommended upgrades are not in this bill. We want to see a stronger bill in MA, and so do over 58,000 people.

Massachusetts – if you want to see this bill passed with the most robust protections possible, it is critical that you sign our petition, and contact your state representative and ask them to support both the bill itself AND the proposed amendments. You can find out who your representative is and how to get in touch with them here.

Sign the Change.org petition below to Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Exams on Anesthetized Patients in MASSACHUSETTS.

New Mexico

​Despite a strong start, the bill was shelved before receiving a hearing in the 2022-2023 session. However, 147,000+ people believe we need a strong law in New Mexico, and we are not giving up. We are continuing to advocate for a law in New Mexico, and are using the rest of 2024 to build a strong coalition, write a robust bill, and develop a vigorous advocacy strategy so that we are prepared for the 2025 legislative session. Sign up for our newsletters to stay informed, and if you are in New Mexico, please join us in this advocacy effort and reach out to us.

Sign the Change.org petition below to Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Exams on Anesthetized Patients in NEW MEXICO.

Colorado

VICTORY!!! Thanks to the work of a coalition of amazing legislators, advocates, medical students, and activists – including the At Your Cervix team – Colorado just passed the most robust consent legislation yet! The law – signed by Governor Jared Polis on May 25, 2023 outlines a thorough consent process for ALL intimate exams, provides whistleblower protections for students or staff who may witness a non-consensual exam, and requires patients be given the opportunity to meet and know the names of any students they agree to allow to perform an intimate examination as a part of their training. We hope this law will serve as a model for other states as we continue to fight to ban non-consensual intimate exams in all fifty states!

Wisconsin

We were hopeful that 2024 would be the year that Wisconsin passed its own consent legislation, particularly after a bill passed the state’s Senate and was referred to the State Assembly for a vote. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass in April 2024.

This is a setback, but we applaud the legislators who have been championing this bill and look forward to working with them to ensure the passage of a strong bill in 2025.

Kansas

A bill was introduced in 2023, but unfortunately died in committee. While that is a setback, it also means we have time to work with legislators, patients, medical students, advocates and healthcare professionals to write a stronger bill and develop a robust advocacy strategy in Kansas. 

The At Your Cervix team has been in touch with Kansas legislators, who have advised us that the revised bill will have a better chance of passing if introduced at the start of the 2025 legislative session. We have until then to work to ensure the same robust language – including whistleblower protections and a specific and thorough informed consent process – that we successfully advocated for in Colorado also make it into the Kansas bill! Sign up for our action alerts and updates to stay informed.

Federal

On April 1, 2024, the Department of Health and Human services issued a letter to American medical schools and teaching hospitals advising that they are required to obtain patient consent prior to performing an educational intimate examination on an anesthetized patient, and that those who fail to comply risk losing their Medicare funding.

We are thrilled that the HHS has taken this critical step to protect patients, and applaud their action on this issue. However, the HHS letter remains only one piece of the larger puzzle. It lacks detail on what a full and informed consent process should look like – including mechanisms for patients to opt out of student exams without risking their access to needed care if they so choose. It also lacks protections for medical students who witness or are instructed to perform intimate exams without explicit and informed patient consent and report these abuses.  

The At Your Cervix team is therefore committed to working on helping to pass and amend state consent laws – in order to ensure provisions are in place to offer those protections to patients and medical students. However, we see this HHS guidance as critical in ensuring that consent laws and policies are followed, and we are overjoyed that it is now in effect! You can see our full statement about the HHS guidance here

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