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Lawsuit Filed After Doctors Performed Intersex Surgery

6:10 AM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Two South Carolina parents said the Department of Social Services allowed doctors to perform an unnecessary surgery on their child before they adopted him--and now they've filed a lawsuit over the incident.

Pam and Mark Crawford said doctors removed the child's penis when he was 16-months-old.

According to the Crawfords, their child, who's referred to in court documents as "M.C.," was born with an intersex condition where his sexual anatomy doesn't fit typical definitions of male or female.

The Crawford's also said they knew they were adopting an intersex child, but the state said the child was a female.

M.C. is now 8-years-old.

Anne-Tammar Mattis with Advocates for Informed Choice said doctors performed sex-assignment surgery on the baby.

"The medical record makes it clear that doctors felt this child could be raised as a boy or as a girl," Mattis said. "There was no compelling reason to go either way. And why they decided to do irreversible genital surgery, knowing that is unclear."

On Tuesday morning, the Crawfords filed a lawsuit against  DSS, Greenville Hospital System, and the Medical University of South Carolina.

The Crawfords said they want justice.

"This was a careless and reckless action by bringing a lawsuit against the defendants," Mark Crawford said. "We hope to put other doctors, hospitals and state agencies on notice that they cannot mutilate children without being held accountable."

M.C. was raised as a girl, but gradually began wanting to be a boy.

"We have our anxieties for how we raise him and about his future, but we try to help him focus on the positive opportunities," Crawford said.

The State Department of Social Services declined to comment on why the surgery was performed on M.C. A spokesperson said it is against department policy to comment on lawsuits.

Lawyers for the Crawfords said these are the first lawsuits of their kind filed in the United States.

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