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CA Could Outlaw Nonconsensual Condom Removal

Patch logo Patch 9/11/2021 Kat Schuster
California lawmakers took a step closer to making the state the first to outlaw the act of removing a condom without permission during sex, commonly referred to as "stealthing." © Getty Images/iStockphoto California lawmakers took a step closer to making the state the first to outlaw the act of removing a condom without permission during sex, commonly referred to as "stealthing."

CALIFORNIA — Golden State legislators moved closer to making California the first to outlaw the act of removing a condom without permission during sex. The act is commonly referred to as "stealthing."

Lawmakers sent the bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom's office this week, which would make nonconsensual condom removal illegal. The bill would add the act to the state's civil definition of sexual battery, according to the bill.

If passed, the new law would not mean perpetrators could face jail time for stealing; rather, the vicitim would be able to sue them for damages.

"Pursuing civil action allows for victims to receive compensation that can assist with paying for medical or mental health services that are the result of nonconsensual condom removal. This is important," said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, a Democrat who was inspired to draft the bill by a 2017 Yale University term paper that illustrated the dangers of stealthing.

The study was authored by Yale law student Alexandra Brodsky, who contended that "Nonconsensual condom removal during sexual intercourse exposes victims to physical risks of pregnancy and disease and, interviews make clear, is experienced by many as a grave violation of dignity and autonomy."

Garcia has said that stealthing can cause long-term physical and emotional harm to its victims. Her original proposal, first drafted in 2017, intended to make the act a crime. Her bill passed earlier this year without any objections.

"It’s disgusting that there are online communities that defend and encourage stealthing and give advice on how to get away with removing the condom without the consent of their partner, but there is nothing in law that makes it clear that this is a crime," she added.

Newsom has until Oct. 10 to sign the bill into law, making California the first state to outlaw the act.

"I have been working on the issue of 'stealthing' since 2017. And I won’t stop until there is some accountability for those who perpetrate the act," Garcia said in a statement. "Sexual assaults, especially those on women of color, are perpetually swept under the rug.

What's more, the state Senate also moved to treat the rape of a spouse the same as the rape of a non-spouse. That bill, which passed on Tuesday, would remove an exemption to laws surround rape if a victim is married to the perpetrator.

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