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Eliminating Sex On Birth Certificates Is Driven By Inexperienced Med Students Undermining Science

Baby's sex

The American Medical Association (AMA) continued to defy basic science and the views of the overwhelming majority of the nation’s medical professionals when it took the absurd step in June of resolving to “advocate for the removal of sex as a legal designation on the public portion of the birth certificate.”  In taking this position, the AMA strayed so far away from conventional thought that it ceased to be an organization worthy of carrying the word, “medical” in its name. But this is only the beginning of the AMA’s mishandling of the matter.

The resolution ultimately adopted by the Board of Trustees was introduced by the organization’s Medical Student Section (a fact that in and of itself is telling). In the background portion of their resolution, the medical students took great care to differentiate between what they call “sex designation” and gender identity.

According to the students, “sex designation refers to the biological difference between males and females, which is what is recorded on the birth certificate.”  The students then defined gender as “a social construct that describes the way persons self-identify or express themselves.”

The students observed that the way persons express themselves “may not always correspond with their sex assigned at birth,” yet if sex is the biological difference between males and females and gender recognizes a social construct related to sex and sexuality, then why is the designation of the former in any way restrictive of the latter? In other words, if one is going to self-identify as one of over 144 genders and such identification is independent of one’s sex designation, then why the restrictions on reporting sex designation?

The unaddressed gap in logic brings us to the next error in the students’ resolution: the claim that sex is “assigned at birth.” This is a concept the students took from an informational pamphlet published by the far-left American Psychological Association, but it is one that is patently false.

Let us recall what the students noted in their own resolution, namely that sex designation refers to the biological difference between males and females.  That being the case, sex designations cannot possibly be “assigned at birth.” It is merely recognized. The baby’s sex has already been determined by its genetic make-up and corresponding anatomy. Hence, no one can “assign” any sex designation at birth.

In their inexperience and as a result of the flawed instruction they must be receiving, the medical students conflated the recognition of one’s sex through a genital inspection performed by the delivering physician at the time of the infant’s birth with an “assignment.”

A child’s sex is no more assigned at the time of birth than a table is assigned its “tableness” at the time it is removed from the delivery truck. One’s maleness or femaleness, like a table’s tableness, is already set. The physician is merely acknowledging the sex the baby already has. Thus, when the students claim that one’s gender (behavior) may not correlate with one’s sex (inherent biological characteristics) “assigned at the time of birth,” they are delivering a falsehood, and it is amazing that those responsible for teaching them medicine did not point that out.

The students go on to disingenuously state that “there is no clear standard for defining sex designation.” The standard for defining one’s sex is, indeed, pretty clear, although there are rare cases where the genitals fail to differentiate themselves sufficiently at birth so as to make further testing necessary, the number is immaterial.

Then comes the next error: the medical students’ claim that 48 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia “allow for people to amend their sex designation on their birth certificate.” Again, this statement is wrong, but even if it were not, the students failed to substantiate their claim.

First, their source is the National Center for Transgender Equality’s “Summary of Birth Certificate Gender Change Language,” a single-page document produced by an organization so heavily invested in one side of the debate that it cannot be relied upon to be the final word on the matter. The board should have demanded from the students – and the students should have demanded of themselves – a presentation of the actual statutory language in each of the jurisdictions. The floor would then be in a position to actually discuss what each state is actually allowing.

What’s more, the students claim that the 48 states allow a change in “sex determination.” Once again, this is false as even the “summary” points out. What is allowed to be changed, according to the “summary” is something called the “gender marker,” which neither the students nor the “summary” define, not “sex determination.” Shouldn’t the board or professors have demanded clarification from the students on this point prior to proceeding with a debate and consideration on the matter?

Finally, the most important point of all. Absent from the medical students’ background on the issue of sex identification in birth certificates is any comment on the benefits and possible necessity of keeping one’s sex in a birth certificate. The students only mention the conflict and “confusion” that having a sex at odds with one’s gender can cause.

Although they claim that one in 5,000 people have “intersex variations” and six in 1,000 identify as transgender, allowing for “confusion,” they don’t mention how often this confusion happens or the cost of such confusion to American society. Nor do they mention whether removing the individual’s sex from a birth certificate will make any difference to this “confusion” since the person will still have a conflict between his or her sex and the gender he or she chooses regardless of what the birth certificate may say.

In fact, so flawed was the students’ case in favor of allowing late changes to gender designations in birth certificates that they actually may have strengthened the arguments against it, yet neither the board nor their mentors raised a finger to point out their shortcomings.

It is clear that in adopting this position on sex determination on birth certificates, the AMA has once again provided a grave disservice to society and to the medical profession.  What is less obvious is the grave disservice it conferred upon its medical students who have missed out on opportunities to learn valuable lessons relating to basic biology, logic, ontology, parliamentary procedure, and ethics.

The AMA is now a sham organization that can’t even require adherence to basic professional standards from its own students. Physicians must demand that this rapidly decaying organization step aside and stop falsely claiming to be the voice of America’s doctors.