The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against South Carolina and medical
professionals charging that they violated the constitutional rights
of an intersex baby.
The child, now 8, is identified in
documents only by the initials M.C.
M.C., who identifies as a boy, was born
with an intersex condition, which is a difference in reproductive or
sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the typical definition of male or
At 16 months old, M.C. was in the care
of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Doctors and
department officials decided that the child should undergo sex
assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl.
M.C.'s adoptive parents, Mark and Pam
Crawford, allege that the surgery was not necessary and that it
robbed their child of not only his healthy genital tissue but also of
the opportunity to decide what should happen to his own body.
“By performing this needless surgery,
the state and doctors told M.C. that he was not acceptable or
loveable the way he was born,” said Pam Crawford. “They
disfigured him because they could not accept him for who he was –
not because he needed any surgery. M.C. is a charming, enchanting
and resilient kid. We will not stop until we get justice for our
“It was shocking,” Mark Crawford
said. “I would have thought that by 2006, when the surgery was
done, there would have been enough red flags waved in the face of all
these medical specialists there would have been a lot more caution
before anybody approved surgery like this that wasn't medically
necessary.” (The audio is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
The lawsuit was filed in state (M.C.
v. Medical University of South Carolina) and federal (M.C. v.
Aaronson) court. Defendants include the South Carolina
Department of Social Services, Greenville Hospital System, Medical
University of South Carolina and individual employees, including Dr.
Ian Aaronson, a Charleston-based urologist.