Non-consensual Pelvic Exams are Legal in Wisconsin

Most women would agree that pelvic exams are uncomfortable and often feel like a violation. Imagine getting a pelvic exam without your consent.

CLAWW is promoting the new, award-winning documentary film At Your Cervix, which breaks the silence around the little-known unethical practice of medical students learning to perform pelvic exams on anesthetized patients without their consent. This happens when a student is in their gynecology rotation, and they follow a doctor around to learn. Suppose a doctor is scheduled to perform gynecological surgery on a patient. In that case, they’ll have the medical student “practice” a pelvic exam on the patient after being put under anesthesia before the surgery starts. It’s hard to believe, but this practice is legal in 29 states, including Wisconsin.

In an era where questions about consent are more paramount than ever, At Your Cervix goes inside OB/GYN medical education programs and looks at how their racist and sexist legacy of exploitation has created a culture of non-consent in gynecology. The film chronicles these unethical teaching practices and explores how they relate to the fact that most patients experience pelvic exams as painful, disempowering, and traumatizing. These practices persist despite repeated news exposés and the fact that a more ethical, effective, and empowering teaching method is well-established.

What is CLAWW doing to support this film?

Stay tuned for more information on how to watch the movie online (for a $10 fee) between March 19-27. Also, on March 26, please join CLAWW as we host an online panel discussion with the filmmakers and other professionals.

What can you do to get involved?

  • Watch the At Your Cervix movie trailer.
  • Support Wisconsin Bill 128, which requires informed consent.
  • As able, donate to At Your Cervix as they release the film to audiences around the country through their Legislation Campaign.
  • Sign up to receive updates about the topic and the film.
  • For questions, ideas, enthusiasm, and support, email [email protected]  
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