Written By – Shrey Garg, National Law School of India University
California will become the first state in USA to outlaw non-consensual removal of condom during sexual intercourse. This practice is termed as ‘stealthing’. The term ‘stealthing’ gained attention after it was featured as a part of an article published by Alexandra Brodky in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law in 2017.
The article argued that stealthing can result in usual consequences of unprotected sex like unwanted pregnancies and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections as well as infringes the autonomy of the individuals.
The State Legislature of California has sent a bill for approval to Governor Gavin Newsom. This bill stipulates that stealthing should be included within the civil definition of sexual battery and makes it illegal to remove condom without verbal consent in the state.
This legislation was introduced in the assembly by Democratic legislator Cristina Garcia. Garcia has been trying to push for a legislation since 2017 when she came across a study done by Yale University which shows that there was a sharp increase in the cases of stealthing against women and gay.
The bill proposed by Garcia seeks to remove any kind of ambiguity which exists in the civil law and does not criminalize the act of stealthing.
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,” Garcia said in a statement.
Her bill has also received support from the Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project, which said it could allow sex workers to sue clients who remove condoms during otherwise consensual sex.