S.B. 201 would have been the first legislation in the country to ban cosmetic genital surgeries in intersex babies, a practice that the United Nations has condemned and the international non-profit organization Human Rights Watch has ruled a violation of human rights. In recent decades, surgeries have been relatively common in babies born with atypical sexual organs. But more recently, intersex activists have argued that a person must have the legal right to consent to cosmetic surgeries performed on the body itself, a skill that babies do not have.
S.B. 201 needed to approve Monday’s vote outside the committee to move forward for a floor vote.
The author of the bill, State Senator Scott Wiener, said in response: “I am very disappointed that the committee has rejected this civil rights law. Intersex people deserve legal protection, and we are committed to ensuring that protection under the law. Of California”.
“Today’s vote was a setback, but this is only the beginning. We are not giving up protecting intersex people from non-consensual, invasive and dangerous surgery. As with many civil rights struggles, multiple attempts are sometimes required to prevail. We will return. ”
The committee chairman, state senator Steve Glazer, opposed the bill.
Just before the vote, Glazer told his committee that he believed S.B. 201 was moving “in the right direction”, but it did not support the bill in its current form since “it requires some reduction.”
“It is with reluctance that I cannot find myself, according to the bill as written today, encouraging its approval,” he said.
In a statement after the vote, he further explained: “I am opposed to sex assignment surgery in babies born with ambiguous sexual characteristics. I believe that a more stringent bill could be developed to achieve that goal. I regret that this did not happen today. “.
An independent committee to support the re-election of Glazer received a $ 50,000 contribution from the pressure group of the Medical Association of California on Friday, according to publicly available state records accessed by CNN.
The Medical Association of California is one of the most vocal opponents of S.B. 201. Last year, an earlier version of the same bill was also presented due to opposition from the Medical Association of California, among others.
The Independent Medical Committee of the California Medical Association made the donation to the Coalition for a Healthy and Safe California in Support of Glazer for the 2020 Senate.
When asked if Glazer believed that this contribution, donated on the last business day before the committee hearing, was directly linked to S.B. 201, his spokesman Steven Harmon said: “The senator was not involved in the work of that independent committee.”
When asked if the association’s donation was linked to S.B. 201, Vice President of Strategic Communications Anthony York said: “CMA has been a strong advocate of Senator Glazer for years, and the donation to the independent spending committee (of Glazer) had absolutely nothing to do with the timing of a legislative hearing.” .
In the final vote, four senators voted no, two voted yes and three, including Glazer, abstained.