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Gov. Carney signs consent legislation

Sarah Mueller
Delaware Public Media

There’s new state laws on consent in education and in health care.

Gov. John Carney signed two pieces of legislation dealing with the issue of consent Tuesday.

State Rep. Krista Griffith’s (D-Fairfax) bill requires medical providers to inform patients if they will get a pelvic, rectal or prostate exam while anesthetized or unconscious.

It also requires providers to inform patients if a medical student or resident will perform or be present at the exam. For decades, medical students have practiced pelvic exams on anesthetized women.

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear) said the bill addresses a loophole in current law.

“Over the last few years, we’ve done a lot of legislation on women’s issues and it’s important that we continue to do that,” she said.

But Longhurst praises Griffth for also including exams for men in her legislation. The law takes effect in two months.

The other measure, sponsored by State Sen. Nicole Poore (D-New Castle), requires schools to teach the definition of consent.

Melanie Ross Levin is the director of the Office of Women’s Advancement and Advocacy. She said the law is important because of the #metoo movement, which supports survivors of sexual assault.

“We also know that the need for consent education and guidance is not new and that’s why it’s fantastic that Delaware’s being proactive,” she said.

Schools will start teaching the new curriculum in the 2020-2021 school year.

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