Assembly Approves Calderon and Petrie-Norris Bill Aimed At Empowering Female Patients During Pelvic Exams

Monday, April 29, 2019

Sacramento, CA – Assembly Bill 1030 was approved on the Assembly Floor today with bipartisan support. AB 1030 is a measure authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris which requires the California Medical Board and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop an informational pamphlet for patients undergoing a gynecological pelvic examination.

“Given recent horrific incidents of abuse during gynecological pelvic exams, it has become apparent that patients would benefit from advanced information about what to expect during an exam,” stated Majority Leader Ian Calderon. “I am thankful to my constituent, who was one of the hundreds of women that were victimized by Dr. George Tyndall at USC, for sharing this bill idea with our office last year. AB 1030 will empower patients by giving them much needed information."

“By educating patients with information regarding how gynecological pelvic examination procedures should be properly performed, we can help women feel less vulnerable and prevent serious misconduct,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

For nearly 30 years, the University of Southern California’s student health clinic had one full-time gynecologist: Dr. George Tyndall. He treated tens of thousands of female students, many of them teenagers seeing a gynecologist for the first time. Complaints regarding his behavior began in the 1990s, when co-workers alleged he was improperly photographing students’ genitals. In the years that followed, patients and nursing staff accused him again and again of “creepy” behavior, including touching women inappropriately during pelvic exams and making sexually suggestive remarks about their bodies. It was not until 2016, when a frustrated nurse went to the campus rape crisis center, that he was suspended.

Since then, approximately 500 current and former students have accused Tyndall of misconduct.  Several lawsuits have been filed at the state and federal level, going into graphic detail about Tyndall’s alleged practices – such as fully nude exams that were not medically necessary and digital penetration that did not resemble a routine gynecological exam.

Though the Tyndall case garnered attention because of the educational setting and the astounding number of victims that have come forward, it is, unfortunately, not an isolated event.  After reviewing the Medical Board of California’s disciplinary decisions from the last five years alone, there have been numerous other physicians who have had their license suspended or revoked entirely for sexual misconduct that occurred during a pelvic exam.

AB 1030 requires the California Medical Board and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop an informational pamphlet for patients undergoing a gynecological pelvic examination, with basic information regarding how the procedure should be properly performed, privacy and sanitary expectations, and Board contact information in order to report any instances of misconduct. 

AB 1030 requires that this informational document be provided to patients prior to their first pelvic exam. This measure will ensure that female patients receive the information they need to in order to identify, and hopefully prevent, instances of severe misconduct.