The American Medical Association (AMA) has proposed not to include sex on birth certificates for newborn babies since they still have not chosen to be a boy or a girl.
In a statement, Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, AMA's board chair-elect, said that public information designated on the baby's sex on birth certificates fails to recognize "the medical spectrum of gender identity." The doctor also noted that the identification could eventually risk the child's "self-expression and self-identification," increasing the marginalization of individuals.
Fryhofer's statement was shared with the Board of Trustees and the policymakers of AMA in the House of Delegates last June. However, WebMD reported the measure that stated the AMA LGBTQ Advisory Committee backed the move to make the baby's gender visible for medical and statistical use only and not for public records.
After WebMD shared the report, netizens called out AMA's measure. Christina Sommers, a noted author and scholar, said on social media that the institution of doctors has "lost its mind," while former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Rep. Elise Stefanik also said that AMA's move was ridiculous.
Importance of Sex on Birth Certificates
In the U.S., any person's biological sex has to be entered in the Standard Certificate of Live Birth for statistical and medical use. Dr. Robert Jackson of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery disagreed with the measure. He said that all doctors, from their medical school until their specialty training, will need to identify the sex of their patients.
"When the child is born, they do have physical characteristics either male or female," Jackson said. "I think that probably should be on the public record."
A person's biological sex is needed in diagnosing and treating patients. In 2019, a patient who identified as a man gave birth to a stillborn baby because he didn't get the proper prenatal care as the medical staff thought he was obese and not pregnant. According to the doctors, his classification as a man threw them off, so they could not provide for his body's actual medical needs.
States Disallowing Sex Changes on Birth Certificates
Some have accused the AMA of pursuing a political agenda when changing sex on birth certificates is legally allowed in the U.S., except for two states -- Tennessee and Montana. Tennessee's law against the changes took effect in 2020 while Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Montana's laws in July 2021.
Montana's recent move has drawn a lawsuit from Amelia Marquez and John Doe, who said that the government has made it deliberately more challenging for transgender people. Marquez and Doe accused the state government of violating their rights and taking their equal protection under the constitution.
Some people who transition do not undergo surgical sex change because it's an expensive procedure, and they believe that they do not need the operation to affirm their gender identity. However, Marquez, born a boy but now identifies as female, said she wants a birth certificate reflecting her gender, but Montana will not allow it.
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