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Should CA ban nonconsensual ‘medically unnecessary’ surgery on intersex minors?

A surgeon looks at a monitor.
A surgeon looks at a monitor.
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California doctors would be barred from treating or performing surgery on children born with genitals that don’t fit a single gender or are otherwise atypical unless it’s medically necessary or the child consents, under a bill unveiled Monday.

It’s the latest effort by state legislators to give minors more control over their bodies and gender identities.

“The fundamental premise of the legislation is that people should make decisions about their own bodies,” said Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, the bill’s sponsor. “In California we strongly believe that people are who they are and that we shouldn’t be telling people who they are supposed to be.”

Doctors, though, said the bill may go too far in restricting how they can treat patients. The California Medical Association hasn’t taken a formal position on the bill but has “very serious concerns” that include the bill’s lack of a definition around when a minor is old enough to consent.

Today, we debate Senate Bill 201. Plus, if you are intersex or the parent of a child who is intersex, what do you think of the proposed ban?

With files from the Associated Press


Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of interACT, a national non-profit that advocates for intersex youth and is a co-sponsor of the bill; she is an intersex woman

Peter Bretan M.D., practicing urologist in Santa Cruz; he is the president of the California Urological Association and president elect of the California Medical Association