Removing condom 'without consent' is now a crime in California

The bill, "Sexual battery: nonconsensual condom removal," amends the state's civil code, adding "stealthing" to the state's civil definition of sexual battery.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, California became the first state in the country to make it illegal to remove a condom without consent during intercourse. The term for this maneuver is called "stealthing."

Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB 453, Sexual battery: nonconsensual condom removal, into law on Thursday as part of a batch of new bills that were signed.

The bill amends the state's civil code, adding to state's civil definition of sexual battery the act of "stealthing."

According to the amended law, "stealthing," which "Causes contact between a sexual organ, from which a condom has been removed, and the intimate part of another who did not verbally consent to the condom being removed," is now listed as an act of sexual battery.

According to NBC News, "That makes it clear that victims can sue perpetrators for damages, including punitive damages."

Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who proposed the amendment, originally attempted to make the action a crime in 2017 following a Yale University Study published that year that said acts of "stealthing" were on the rise against women and gay men, with victims fearing unwanted pregnancy or STDs.

Legislative analysts said back in 2017 that the act could already be considered misdemeanor sexual battery. They did note through that it is rarely prosecuted, given the difficulty in proving that the act was done intentionally rather than accidentally.

The Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project supported Garcia's bill, saying it could allow sex workers to sue clients who remove condoms.

"This law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow in California's direction and make it clear that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal," Garcia said.


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