Sunday, November 3, 2013

CANBERRA: Senate committee; "Don't cut intersex without good cause"

Australian Senate/OII
October 30, 2013

Senate Committe: "Avoid unnecessary surgery on children"

An Australian Senate Committee has recommended that medical interventions on intersexed children should wherever possible wait until the person themself can give their informed consent.

The Community Affairs References Committee report on "Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia" has accepted many of the submissions of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia.

It recommends the terms "intersex" or "differences of sexual development" rather than "disorders of sexual development".
The committee recommends that all medical treatment of intersex people take place under guidelines that ensure treatment is managed by multidisciplinary teams within a human rights framework. The guidelines should favour deferral of normalising treatment until the person can give fully informed consent, and seek to minimise surgical intervention on infants undertaken for primarily psychosocial reasons.

Medical intervention should be deferred wherever possible until the patient is able to freely give full and informed consent; this is known as “Gillick competence”.
OII says the report raises major concerns about medical ethics and the human rights of intersex people in Australia.

"The committee acknowledges that surgeries intend to erase intersex traits from individuals and society, yet the underlying preconceptions are disturbing, and no research has been done to evaluate the benefits of alternatives," OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter said.

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