Constitutional Law

Sex-reassignment surgery of infant in state's care violated due process, adoptive parents allege

The adoptive parents of a baby born with both male and female genitalia claim the state of South Carolina violated their child’s constitutional rights by subjecting the child to sex-reassignment surgery.

The child, identified as “M.C.,” was 16 months old when surgeons removed the toddler’s male genitals before the adoption, report the Raw Story, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center website. The child is now 8 years old and identifies as a boy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represents the family along with Advocates for Informed Choice and a pro bono lawyer with Steptoe & Johnson.

The complaint (PDF) filed in federal court in Charleston claims the surgery violated the M.C.’s 14th Amendment due process rights to “bodily integrity, procreation, privacy, and liberty.”

“Defendants usurped these intimate and profound decisions from M.C. when he was barely older than an infant, knowing that surgically misassigning M.C.’s sex would lead to disastrous results,” the suit says. “Unfortunately, medical technology has not devised a way to replace what M.C. has lost.” The current standard of care is to raise an intersex child as either a boy or a girl, without surgery, until a gender identity emerges, according to the suit.

A separate suit (PDF) filed in state court alleges medical malpractice.

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