South Carolina Sued over failed sex assignment surgery on 16 Month old Intersex Infant

A South Carolina Couple who's adopted intersex infant was operated on without their knowledge just three months before they took custody to 'correct' ambiguous genital are suing saying the gender that was assigned was wrong.

Pam and Mark Crawford's first of a kind lawsuit alleges the doctors couldn't have known which gender the 16 month old known only as "M.C.", would identify as later in life when they modified his genitalia to appear female. Now that M.C. is 8 years old and identifies as male his female genitalia is causing him great distress.

South Carolina does not change gender on Birth Certificates but it is not clear if that will be affected by this lawsuit.

The Crawford began raising M.C. as a female after adoption but as time went on they begun to notice he gravitated towards typically male toys and behaved as boy would be expected to. After consulting with a pediatrician and discovering M.C. had been operated on the couple facilitated their child's transition to male. The couple is pursing legal action in hopes of preventing this happening in the future.

"We feel very strongly that these decisions to permanently alter somebody's genitalia and their reproductive ability for no medical reason whatsoever is an abhorrent practice and can't be continued," Pam Crawford told Reuters in a phone interview.

"It is too late for our son," she added. "The damage has been done to him." “This case is about ensuring the safety of all children who do not have a voice,” said Alesdair H. Ittelson, SPLC staff attorney. “No one advocated for M.C.’s right to be free from unnecessary medical intervention at a time when the state was entrusted with his safety and well-being. It is high time all involved answer for the needless injury they inflicted on M.C.”

“By performing this needless surgery, the state and the doctors told M.C. that he was not acceptable or loveable the way he was born,” said Pam Crawford, M.C.’s adoptive mother. “They disfigured him because they could not accept him for who he was – not because he needed any surgery. M.C. is a charming, enchanting and resilient kid. We will not stop until we get justice for our son.”

Advocates for Informed Choice has partnered with the SPLC in this case and has initiated Project Integrity and invites you to add your name in support of M.C..

The lawsuit, M.C. v. Medical University of South Carolina, was filed in County of Richland Court of Common Pleas. M.C. v. Aaronson was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Defendants include the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Greenville Hospital System, Medical University of South Carolina and individual employees.

SPLC co-counsel include Advocates for Informed Choice and pro bono counsel for the private law firms of Janet, Jenner & Suggs and Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

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