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Health News Florida

Florida Senate Seeks To Clarify Pelvic Exam Law

Lauren Book
Sponsored by Sen. Laruen Book, D-Plantation, the bill also would make clear consent required only when patients are anesthetized or unconscious.

A bill says a requirement for written consent applies only to female patients and that pelvic exams include examinations of the internal reproductive system.

A 2020 law that required doctors to obtain written consent before conducting pelvic exams caused confusion last summer among Florida physicians.

The Senate Health Policy Committee on Wednesday took a step to clarify the law by unanimously passing a bill (SB 716) that says the requirement only applies to female patients and that pelvic exams include examinations of the internal reproductive system.

Sponsored by Sen. Laruen Book, D-Plantation, the bill also would make clear consent required only when patients are anesthetized or unconscious.

The bill also would clarify that written consent for pelvic exams may be included in general consent forms that physicians give patients. Moreover, the bill would make clear that one written consent form may be used to authorize multiple health care practitioners or students to perform a pelvic examination.

The bill addresses concerns that physicians and nurses had with the law. Two medical licensing boards were asked last year to issue declaratory statements to settle some of the confusion that occurred.

Sponsored by Book, the 2020 law was in response to media reports that medical students may be performing pelvic examinations on anesthetized or unconscious women without obtaining informed consent.