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State Decides Hermaphrodite Baby's Gender with Irreversible Sex-Assignment Surgery

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Dan McCrue, Courthouse News

Adoptive parents sue, calling surgery unnecessary and potentially damaging.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) – South Carolina's Department of Social Services ordered doctors to do irreversible, medically unnecessary sex-assignment surgery on a year-old child in state custody, her adoptive parents claim in court.

     Pamela and John Mark Crawford sued three doctors and four Social Services workers on behalf of their child, M.C., in Federal Court. M.C. is 8 years old.

     ”This lawsuit challenges the decision by government officials and doctors to perform an irreversible, painful, and medically unnecessary sex assignment surgery on a sixteen-month-old child in state custody. Defendants performed this surgery for the purpose of 'assigning' the child the female gender despite their own conclusion that he 'was a true hermaphrodite but that there was no compelling reason that she should either be male or female,'” the complaint states.

     M.C. was taken into state custody because his mother was deemed unfit and his father had abandoned him, according to the complaint. The Crawfords say the parental rights of the child's biological parents were terminated.

     ”At birth, M.C. was identified as a male based on his external genitalia. Shortly after birth, however, M.C.'s doctors discovered that M.C. had 'ambiguous genitals' and both male and female internal reproductive structures. As his medical records repeatedly indicated, M.C.'s doctors determined that he could be raised as either a boy or a girl,” the complaint states.

     ”Despite not knowing whether M.C. would ultimately grow up to be a man or a woman, and whether he would elect to have any genital surgery, Defendants, who include doctors at a state hospital and SCDSS officials, decided to remove M.C.'s healthy genital tissue and radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female.”

     The Crawfords claim the doctors acted rashly upon Social Services' decision, going ahead with the surgery though there was no medically compelling reason to do so. The defendant doctors, Ian Aaronson, James Amrhein and Yawappiagyei-Dankah, cut off M.C.'s phallus to reduce it to the size of a clitoris, removed one testicle, excised all testicular tissue from the second gonad, and constructed labia, the …read more


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