Tuesday morning, lawyers filed a groundbreaking and potentially landmark lawsuit in South Carolina state and federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that the State Department of Social Services, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Greenville Hospital System participated in an "unnecessary surgery on an infant."
The lawsuit alleges that it was a violation of the US Constitution when doctors, working for the state, removed the healthy genital tissue of a 16-month-old intersex child; having both identifiable genitals of male and female. At the time of the surgery the child was in the custody of the SC Department of Social Services.
Lawyers say the state decided that the child would be a female when now at 8-year-old the child identifies as a male.
"It became more and more obvious that he was interested as identifying as male. We talked with his pediatrician at length about this and he told her pretty flat out that 'this is who I am.' So the decision was made that he could live this way," the child's adopted mother Pam Crawford said.
The child made the full gender transition in school and in the families religious community and is now known to all as a little boy.
"They disfigured him because they could not accept him for who he was -- not because he needed surgery," Crawford said.
There are two lawsuits. One filed in Richland County in state court against SCDSS.
"And it also has a malpractice component against a Greenville hospital system where the decision making for the surgery took place and Medical University of South Carolina where the actual surgery took place," attorney Ken Suggs explained.
There is also a civil case.
"When you are deprived of a basic right like a right to reproduce, you are entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard. DSS signed off on this without adequate information, without considering material risk -- partially because they weren't informed of all the material risk," Sugg said.
"They've got to stop doing this to kids and the parents need to know that it's going to be alright. You can love your kid and your kid can have a good life," Crawford said.
The Medical University of South Carolina issued a statement saying, "MUSC's general counsel and leadership will review the lawsuit through standard operating procedures for legal matters. MUSC will not be able to offer further comment on this pending litigation."
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