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 female.

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 son.”

“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.