A bill requiring patient consent on medical exams performed for educational purposes was signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro in a private ceremony on Monday, after it was officially signed into law last week.
The bill, now Act 31, was sponsored by state Reps. Liz Fiedler (D-Philadelphia) and Liz Hanbidge (D-Montgomery) and would require medical facilities in Pennsylvania to obtain consent before performing pelvic, prostate or rectal exams on anesthetized patients.
“Patients in Pennsylvania will finally have the right to make decisions about exams performed on their bodies while under anesthesia,” Fiedler said in a statement Monday. “This legislation ensures informed consent for invasive pelvic and rectal exams, at last giving patients the decision-making power that we all deserve about our own bodies.”
Rep. Hanbidge echoed Fiedler’s comments on the bill, calling the practice of pelvic exams without patient consent a “breach of trust.”
“Performing a pelvic, rectal or prostate exam unknowingly on an anesthetized patient isn’t only invasive, but it’s also a breach of trust. Our legislation abolishes this archaic practice, thereby strengthening the trust that Pennsylvanians have in medical professionals, protecting bodily autonomy and highlighting the importance of consent,” Hanbidge said.
The bill takes effect 60 days after it was signed into law.