COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – A South Carolina court rejected a
motion by the Department of Social Services and two hospitals to delay a case
that accuses the agencies of performing a sex-assignment surgery on a
The 5th Judicial Circuit Court decided recently that DSS and
the hospital would have to defend their decision to castrate the child known as
"The court's decision moves M.C. a step closer to justice,"
said Kristi Graunke, Southern Poverty Law Center senior supervising attorney.
"This ruling holds doctors accountable when they recommend such drastic and
irreversible procedures for infants but fail to ensure caregivers are fully
informed about the risks and options."
According to court records, MC was born with an intersex
condition, meaning he had sexual anatomy that did not identify him as either a
boy or girl specifically. As a result, hospital staff decided to make MC a girl
after a discussion with DSS officials, said a release from the Southern Poverty
"Our young client was profoundly harmed when doctors and
state agents decided to remove his penis and testicle," said Anne Tamar-Mattis,
co-counsel from Advocates for Informed Choice. "We look forward to continuing
the fight on M.C.'s behalf and to ensuring that no child ever has to undergo
such life-altering surgeries without informed consent."
MC is now eight years old, according to the SPLC.
Lawsuits were filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and
Advocates for Informed Choice in both state and federal courts in May on behalf
of MC's adoptive parents. U.S. District Judge David C. Norton for the
Charleston Division of South Carolina denied a motion by the defendants in
August to dismiss the case.
Defendants have appealed that decision to the 4th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.
The state circuit court's order stated, "Staying this case
while a federal court weighs an unrelated and inapplicable federal immunity
defense would weigh the litigation in favor of the Defendants by unnecessarily
delaying M.C.'s efforts to prove his state claims."