Health and medical ethics

For an introduction to these issues, see our page on bodily integrity

What human rights are affected by early medical intervention?

What human rights are affected by early medical interventions aimed at “normalising” the bodies of intersex infants, children and adolescents? The Yogyakarta Principles In particular Principle 18: B: Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that no child’s body is irreversibly altered by medical procedures in an attempt to impose a gender…
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Intersex Australians are placed on a sex offenders list

Intersex Australians… are Placed on a Sex Offenders Register…

Extract from OII Australia’s response to the Australian federal Department of Health and Ageing discussion paper on a New National Woman’s Health Policy: Some intersex individuals need anti-androgen medication. Because those medicines are not recognized treatments for the specific diagnosis the only path to that medication is to register the intersex person in question as…
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Six key issues for intersex health, 2009

Issue 1: An end to non-consensual infant genital surgery. OII opposes all cosmetic (non-essential) surgery on infants without their full and informed participation in decision-making and their agreement…

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AHRC’s Paper ‘Surgery on intersex infants and human rights’

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released a paper titled Surgery on intersex infants and human rights. We deeply regret the report’s equivocation on surgery to modify the appearance of intersex infants and children. The report acknowledges such interventions without commenting on their necessity or lifelong consequences. It is available for download here.

Intersex people and photography: US hospital staff photograph unconscious intersex person’s genitals

Intersex people and photography: US hospital staff photograph unconscious intersex person’s genitals

OII Australia is sensitive towards photographic depictions of intersex individuals. The reasons for OII Australia’s sensitivity are exemplified in this article about non-consensual photography. We can’t help but wonder if the photographic voyeurism, and staff attitudes towards this person’s body, impacted on the quality of care that was given – the person is known to…
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Defining intersex: an image of a magnifying glass over a plus symbol

When DSD originated

James Pate, MD has kindly provided us with the following: The first mention of “disorder of sex development” I could find was by CE Ford in 1961 (Ford CE. The cytogenetic analysis of some disorder of sex development. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 82:1154-61, 1961 Nov.) Other historical terminology I found was: Disorder of…
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Jessica Cadwallader: “Regulating the Sexed Body”

Dr Jessica Cadwallader of the Somatechnics Research Centre at Macquarie University has given OII Australia kind permission to provide the PDF of the paper she presented at the Regulating the Sexed Body: Circumcision, Genital Modification and Cosmetic Surgery public lecture at the University of Technology, Sydney. OII applauds Dr Cadwallader’s support for intersex people to…
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Nature, Volume 428 Issue 6984, 15 April 2004

Tony Briffa: “Intersex surgery disregards children’s human rights”

Five years ago, Tony Briffa had a letter published in the journal Nature. The issues it raises remain to be addressed: Countries across the world, along with the United Nations, have long recognized the rights of children to physical integrity and have banned the practice of female genital mutilation. True, the operations performed on children…
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