Senate Approves Senator Wiener’s Resolution Supporting Intersex Infants & Families

SCR 110 calls on the medical community to delay medically unnecessary surgeries until the individual reaches age of informed consent
May 21, 2018

Sacramento –  Today the California State Senate passed a resolution authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) calling on the medical community to delay medically unnecessary surgery for intersex infants until they reach an age of informed consent. Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 calls on the medical community to stop performing nonconsensual and often irreparably harmful sex assignment surgeries on intersex infants at birth.  Instead, medically unnecessary surgery should be delayed until the intersex individual can decide for themselves whether to pursue surgery at all, at an age when informed consent is possible. 

SCR 110 passed the Senate by a vote of 23-12, and now moves to the Assembly. 

SCR 110 is sponsored by interACT, an organization that advocates for the human rights of children born with intersex traits, and Equality California, and is co-authored by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara.) SCR 110 now moves to the Assembly for consideration. SCR 110 is also supported by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU, and others.

“This resolution recognizes that California’s intersex community is a part of our state’s diversity and should be embraced,” said Senator Wiener. “Physicians should not immediately seek to ‘correct’ how people are born through irreversible surgeries, unless they are medically necessary. These surgeries can have significant negative impacts on people’s lives, particularly if the gender chosen by the physician and parents is different from the child’s ultimate gender identity. As a result, these surgeries should be performed only with informed consent by the person who’s life will be permanently impacted. A baby cannot provide that consent. I want to thank my colleagues for standing with California’s intersex community.”

Approximately one in every two thousand individuals is born intersex, meaning that their genitals do not appear typically male or female.  (A much larger number are born with intersex features that go unnoticed, such as internal testicles.) Although intersex infants occasionally require immediate medical attention – for example, a small number are born without the ability to pass urine – the vast majority are born perfectly healthy and able to live rich, fulfilling lives without any modification to their genitals.

“On behalf of the intersex community, interACT is heartened that the California State Senate sent a clear message of support to intersex children across the state by passing SCR 110, said Kimberly Zieselman, Executive Director of interACT. “We look forward to working with the Assembly to ensure ethical, compassionate care for this vulnerable population.”

“Equality California is proud to stand with the intersex community and Senator Wiener as a cosponsor of SCR 110, and we applaud all the senators who showed their support today for preventing unnecessary, life-altering surgeries that harm Californians,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “This is a critical human rights issue that deserves our attention and action.”

“GLMA has long supported efforts to raise awareness about appropriate care for children with differences of sex development, and more recently joined the growing list of healthcare professionals who have called for a delay in any medically unnecessary surgery until a patient with DSD can provide meaningful consent,” said GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS. “SCR 110 is a significant initiative to address the health needs of children born with DSD, and we applaud the efforts of California state senators, led by Senator Scott Wiener, to raise awareness about this important health issue.”

SCR 110 calls upon the medical community to discontinue the use of sex assignment and normalization procedures on intersex infants, and instead let intersex individuals decide for themselves at an appropriate age whether to pursue surgery. The resolution also recognizes that intersexuality is not an aberration to be corrected but an important part of California’s diversity worthy of celebration.

The language of SCR 110 can be found here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SCR110