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California Becomes First US State to Prohibit Mid-Intercourse Condom Removal Known as 'Stealthing'

© AP Photo / Damian DovarganesThis Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, a sample of condoms distributed freely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in 28 countries is displayed at a news conference at the AHF headquarters in Los Angeles.
This Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, a sample of condoms distributed freely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in 28 countries is displayed at a news conference at the AHF headquarters in Los Angeles.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.10.2021
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In 2017, research from Yale University discovered that so-called "stealthing" - removing a condom in the middle of intercourse - among both straights and gays was on the rise, thus increasing the risks of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. The study argued that the existing law lacked mechanisms to establish accountability for such actions.
After Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Thursday, California became the first state to outlaw "stealthing."
The new law adds the act to the state's civil definition of sexual battery, amending the state's civil code. As a result, victims have the right to sue perpetrators for damages, including punitive penalties. It makes it illegal to take condoms off without a person's verbal agreement.
The lead author of the original study on the matter, civil rights attorney Alexandra Brodsky, congratulated the bill's author, the state's Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who has attempted to make "stealthing" a crime since the 2017 research.
According to AP, "stealthing" might already be regarded a misdemeanor sexual battery, albeit it is rarely prosecuted due to the difficulty in proving that a perpetrator behaved willfully rather than accidentally.
Earlier, the rights advocacy group Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project publicly endorsed the bill, claiming that it would empower sex workers to sue clients who removed condoms.
Moreover, the California governor signed a second Garcia bill, which treats rape of a spouse the same as rape of a non-spouse, eliminating a rape statute exemption for victims who are married to the perpetrator.
California was one of only 11 states that made a distinction between spousal rape and other types of sexual assault. The maximum punishments are the same, but those convicted of spousal rape may now be eligible for probation rather than prison or incarceration. And under existing law, the spouse must register as a sex offender if they are sentenced to state prison only if their conduct entails the use of force or violence.
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