ATHENS – Greece’s Parliament has banned “sex-normalizing” surgeries on babies born intersex, a condition in which a person is born with a combination of male and female biological traits.
The law was directed to stop surgeries that seek to ensure a child ascribes to traditional notions of male and female on people under the age of 15 years, unless there is a court decision stating otherwise, reported Reuters.
Sometimes doctors do surgeries on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit binary ideas of “male” or “female” but the bill brings fines and a prison term for physicians if they perform the surgeries.
Operations, including corrective surgeries or hormonal therapies to change face or body characteristics, on intersex people over the age of 15 years will be permitted if the teenagers consent, according to the law.
Rinio Simeonidou, mother of an intersex teenager and Secretary-General of Intersex Greece, told lawmakers before the vote that the approval of the bill would be “a truly historic moment for all intersex children in Greece.”
Earlier this year, Greece banned so-called conversion therapy for minors, practices aimed at suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, which health experts said are psychologically harmful and unethical.
“I was truly saddened by the mistakes of the past that led to dramatic situations because we were lacking the knowledge and courage,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who faces elections next year, told the Parliament his New Democracy government controls, ensuring passage.