California 1st state to oppose intersex surgery for babies: 4 things to know

The California State Legislature on Aug. 28, approved a resolution submitted by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-11th district, opposing medically unnecessary genital surgeries on intersex children not of consenting age, according to NBC News

Here are four things to know:

1. Intersex is a term used when a person is born with reproductive anatomy that does not fit the medical definitions of being female or male, according to the Intersex Society of North America.

2. Gender reconsignment surgeries can significantly affect people's lives, particularly if a child's assigned gender — chosen by the parents and physicians — is different than his or her gender identity. The resolution, SCR 110, does not ban cosmetic genital surgeries, but highlights the growing ethical concerns surrounding the practice.

"These surgeries should be performed only with informed consent by the person whose life will be permanently impacted," Mr. Wiener said in a press release. "A baby cannot provide that consent."

3. Mr. Wiener said the resolution recognizes California's intersex community as part of the state's diversity. Equality California and interACT, both advocacy groups, co-sponsored the bill.

"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 do no harm," Kyle Knight, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement to NBC News. "Medical professional associations should draw a hard line saying that unless surgery is medically necessary, intersex children have the right to grow up and participate in the decision to undergo surgical procedures."

4. Mr. Weiner said the resolution marks "the first time a state has gone on record supporting the intersex community & opposing these surgeries," according to an Aug. 28 tweet.

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