The Lead

Legislature sends informed consent bill to Shapiro’s desk

By: - November 16, 2023 12:19 pm
With federal and state laws changing and litigation unresolved, the Abortion Defense Network helps patients, their loved ones, providers and support groups with free legal advice, pro bono representation, and help paying legal expenses. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Among a flurry of legislation considered this week, a bill requiring patient consent on medical exams performed for educational purposes passed the House on concurrence and now heads to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk for final approval. 

House Bill 507, sponsored by state Reps. Liz Fiedler (D-Philadelphia) and Liz Hanbidge (D-Montgomery), passed the House unanimously on Wednesday evening. 

The bill, which passed through the House Health Committee in March, would require medical facilities in Pennsylvania to obtain consent before performing pelvic, prostate or rectal exams on anesthetized patients.

Fiedler decided to pursue the bill after a constituent, who believes an exam was performed on her without her consent, brought the practice to her attention. 

The issue is a matter of bodily autonomy, Fiedler said. 

“This year, we’ve seen millions of women and people across the country stand up for reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy,” Fiedler said in a statement after the bill’s passage. “It’s never been more important to empower patients to make decisions about their own bodies and lives. I am elated to see this bill pass, and I look forward to Governor Shapiro signing it into law.”

The bill also has the support of women’s advocacy groups, such as the Women’s Law Project who say the practice of performing nonconsensual exams is rooted in medical racism

“We are grateful for the passage of H.B. 507,” Amal Bass, co-executive director of the Women’s Law Project, said. “Eliminating the heinous, paternalistic practice of nonconsensual pelvic exams in Pennsylvania is long overdue. This bill rids medical care of a racist and sexist practice and protects patient autonomy.”

The bill would take effect 60 days after being signed into law. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.