California 'Stealthing' Law Would Make It Illegal to Remove a Condom Without Permission

A new "stealthing" legislation in California would make it illegal to remove a condom during sexual intercourse without permission.

The bill, which was introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, passed in the California state Assembly this week and will be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom's office. The bill received 73 votes in favor and no opposition.

The legislation seeks to add stealthing, or the removal of a condom without consent, to the state's definition of sexual battery.

The text of the bill states that any person who "causes contact between an intimate part of the person and a sexual organ of another from which the person removed a condom without verbal consent" will have committed sexual battery.

According to the Associated Press, if signed into law, the bill would not alter the state's criminal code associated with sexual battery but would change the civil code, allowing a victim to sue their perpetrator.

Garcia first introduced the bill in February. In a statement at the time, she said that the legislation would confirm that stealthing or nonconsensual condom removal "is an illegal act that causes long term physical and emotional harm to its victims and those guilty of 'stealthing' should be held accountable under California law."

Garcia cited a 2017 study from Yale University, which called stealthing a "grave violation of dignity and autonomy" and found that it was increasing among women and gay men.

"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. Sexual assaults, especially those on women of color, are perpetually swept under the rug," Garcia said in the statement. "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."

If the bill is signed into law, California would become the first state in the country to make stealthing illegal.

Newsweek reached out to Garcia's office for further comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

A similar bill was previously proposed in the New York State Senate, which was titled "Unconsented Removal or Tampering With a Sexually Protective Device." It was introduced during the 2017-2018 legislative session but currently remains in the Senate Committee.

Wisconsin also previously proposed similar legislation.

Condoms
A new "stealthing" bill in California would make it illegal to remove a condom without consent. Above, are a selection of condoms March 12, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. William B. Plowman/Getty