AMA Urges Removal of Sex from All Birth Certificates: 'There Is No Clear Standard' for Deciding a Baby's Sex

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Birth Certificate, Doctors says birth certificates should not include a baby's sex

AMA Urges Removal of Sex from All Birth Certificates: 'There Is No Clear Standard' for Deciding a Baby's Sex

The American Medical Association is recommending the removal of sex from birth certificates in a move it says will prevent discrimination based on gender identity but that critics say is anti-science.

The AMA this summer said it would “advocate for the removal of sex as a legal designation on the public portion of the birth certificate.” The current policy of placing a baby’s sex on a birth certificate, the AMA said, “perpetuates a view that it is immutable and fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity.”

“While there is no clear standard for defining sex designation, it is typically determined at birth by a child’s physician or parents based on external genitalia,” the AMA said. “... Gender is a social construct that describes the way persons self-identify or express themselves. A person’s gender identity may not always be exclusively male or female and may not always correspond with their sex assigned at birth.”

The recommendation passed the AMA’s House of Delegates, which is the policy-making body of the American Medical Association. 

“Under the policy, information on an individual’s sex designation at birth would still be collected and submitted through the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth form for medical, public health, and statistical use only,” AMA said in a news release.

“Designating sex on birth certificates as male or female, and making that information available on the public portion, perpetuates a view that sex designation is permanent and fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity,” said AMA board chair-elect Sandra Adamson Fryhofer. “This type of categorization system also risks stifling an individual’s self-expression and self-identification and contributes to marginalization and minoritization.”

In order to “protect individual privacy and to prevent discrimination, U.S. jurisdictions should remove sex designation on the birth certificate,” the recommendation says. 

Wesley J. Smith, an author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, criticized the recommendation.

“It is astonishing how the transgender moral panic has swept actual science aside,” Smith wrote at National Review. “... Rather than permit people to have their records changed, as happens now in all but two states --- and to accommodate the potential future subjective, emotional desires of the very few -- the objective biological reality for the many (in all but an infinitesimal number of births) must be sacrificed.”


Birth Certificates Should Not Include a Baby’s Sex, say Doctors in New England Journal of Medicine

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kathryn8

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.