Following in the footsteps of many states across the country, members of the California legislature have proposed their own version of an informed consent law. The bill would require doctors to give first-time pelvic exam patients a pamphlet about how the exams are supposed to be conducted, and a phone number should they want to report misconduct to the state medical board. Doctors would face a fine if they did not collect a patient’s signature confirming they received the pamphlet.
There is no evidence that informed consent laws prevent sexual assault, and the medical community is generally opposed to legislating the doctor-patient relationship.
But Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson, an expert in family law and health law, feels that the pamphlets could indicate to clinicians that patients will be on their guard. Wilson has been a strong advocate for states to pass laws banning pelvic exams on anesthetized patients without prior consent — a common practice in teaching hospitals.
“We’re really sensitized to this now in the #MeToo era,” Wilson said. “It’s a time when we can empower patients.”
Read the full story at nbcnews.com.