California bans unnecessary surgery on intersex children

The California State Legislature has passed a resolution banning the imposition of cosmetic surgical alteration on intersex children, instead deferring medically unnecessary interventions until the child is is old enough to participate in the decision making process.

An estimated 1.7% of babies are born with chromosomal or anatomical irregularities related to sex. Despite widespread condemnation of the practice by groups like the World Health Organization and Physicians for Human Rights, doctors often perform dangerous cosmetic surgeries soon after birth to “normalize” intersex bodies.

Human Rights Watch researcher Kyle Knight sees the resolution setting a much needed precedent: “California’s leadership on the protection of intersex children’s rights is not only an expression of solidarity and dignity, but a reminder that doctors take an oath to do no harm.”

Read more at Human Rights Watch


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