SC court denies motion to delay sex-assignment surgery case - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

SC court denies motion to delay sex-assignment surgery case

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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 16-month-old child.

The 5th Judicial Circuit Court decided recently that DSS and the hospital would have to defend their decision to castrate the child known as MC.

"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 Law Center.

"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." 

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