. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

California Approves 'Castration' Bill

SAN FRANCISCO -- California's legislature has passed a controversial bill that would make the state the first in the United States to require repeat child molesters to undergo "chemical castration."

The state assembly Friday voted 51-8 for the bill, which had already easily passed the state senate. It now goes to California Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican, who has said he will sign it.

The bill's author, Republican Assemblyman Bill Hoge of Pasadena, expressed delight over the passage of the bill, which he said had received significant bipartisan support.

"Child molestations are going to go down, and they are going to go down dramatically because of this legislation," he said after the vote.

Hoge predicted California would set a trend and other states would soon adopt similar legislation. He said Californians were outraged by the "horrible, heinous crime" of child molestation and wanted something done about it.

Wilson's spokesman, Sean Walsh, said the governor would sign the bill. "If it helps save one child, it's worth the effort," he said.

Under the bill, an offender convicted twice of molesting a child would, after his release, receive regular injections of a drug to reduce his sex drive unless he agreed to surgical castration.

Courts would have the discretion to order first-time offenders to undergo the treatment in particularly bad cases.

The "chemical castration" measure has drawn opposition from civil-rights advocates, who say it raises serious constitutional questions about the right to privacy and the right to procreate, and from some medical experts, who question whether the treatment will be effective in all cases.