DENVER (KDVR) — Medical exams of intimate areas can often be uncomfortable, but imagine them taking place without consent and while under anesthesia.
Colorado lawmakers say the issue is still happening and now, they are working on a measure that would make sure you know about it first.
“Data shows that 90% of medical students around the United States are performing pelvic exams on unconscious patients, with upwards of 75% of those exams being performed without informed consent,” said Medha Gudavalli, a medical student. She came to the state Capitol to testify on this measure as a member of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
“When I heard about this bill, I really wanted to come forward because I think we need to improve the culture around consent, and this can absolutely be done within the medical field,” Gudavalli said.
21 states require consent for pelvic exams
Advocates for the measure say outside of the 21 states that have already enacted laws to prevent this, procedures like this are still happening. They said hospitals, where students are learning the medical profession, are one type of facility people say this often happens.
The bill currently circulating at the Capitol would add Colorado to the list of states requiring permission before the procedures are conducted.
“If a medical student or medical provider wants to provide one of these exams for a training purpose, they need to have a conversation with the patient and obtain their consent, explain what they are going to be doing, and then get a form signed off so that everyone is in agreement as far as what’s going to be happening,” said first-year state Rep. Jenny Willford, of Northglenn.
The bill passed the Health and Insurance committee unanimously on Friday and will head to the Appropriations committee next.