GALDEF is pleased to announce that it recently expanded the types of plaintiffs it’s seeking to launch an equal protection lawsuit to rectify the gender inequality in current U.S. law with regard to childhood genital mutilation. Of the 41 states currently with laws prohibiting culturally motivated, medically unnecessary genital cutting of children, all of them protect only children born with a vulva. Those born with a penis or with ambiguous genitalia (intersex children) do not enjoy the same protection of their bodily integrity or preservation of their eventual adult genital autonomy.

When initially launched, GALDEF’s Plaintiff Search Program for the proposed Equal Protection litigation at the state level included only those born with a penis in 1999 or later. The search has now been expanded to include Guardians (or court-appointed Guardians ad Litem) and Regret Parents.

Examples of such guardians could be an adoptive parent, grandparent, godparent, aunt/uncle, an adult sibling, or an attorney who can legally represent a minor child adversely affected by circumcision that has not yet reached the age to be able to launch their own litigation. Regret Parents may also be considered as plaintiffs under the claim that they learned more about circumcision and the value of the foreskin after granting consent for circumcision but would not have consented if a state law had been in effect prohibiting medical personnel from performing non-therapeutic genital surgery on their child.

According to GALDEF founder Tim Hammond “This change to our search program should substantially increase the pool of potential litigants who could challenge a specific state’s lack of equal protection guarantees for those born after the state passed discriminatory anti-FGM legislation. The gender inequality in such legislation is glaring and any one or more of these potential plaintiffs should have a reasonable claim against such states for violating the equal protection statutes or clauses in their state constitutions.”

Hammond notes that GALDEF is collaborating with attorney Eric Clopper and Kane Law Firm in Los Angeles on a strategy to identify one or more states offering the best chances of success with such impact litigation.

You can help with the success of the search program and the lawsuit by sharing among your social networks this impact litigation link, and please remember to donate generously to GALDEF’s ongoing campaign to raise funds for this costly, but vitally important, lawsuit.