(CN) - An ethics committee in Norway voted to drop a requirement that transgender people undergo full sex-reassignment surgery and sterilization before they are allowed to change their gender legally.
Acting on a plan drafted by Norway's ministry of health and social affairs this past April, the 13-member Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board voted 9-4 earlier this month to discontinue the forced-sterilization rule for transgender men and women seeking to change their gender legally and open the doors for them to receive reproduction assistance including in vitro fertilization.
While the board voted unanimously to drop forced sterilization, a minority went against extending reproductive assistance on grounds that being pregnant is associated with motherhood and a person cannot insist on being a woman and getting pregnant and be a man at the same time.
If the law passes, a person transitioning from male to female would be able to use their own sperm for assisted reproduction as well.
The bill also drops psychiatric and medical evaluations for children between seven and 16 years of ago who - after consulting with their parents - decide to legally change their gender.
Health and social affairs minister Bent Hoie said the proposal "is historic in that it will no longer be the health service but the individual who decides if he or she has changed sex."
Human rights organization Transgender Europe says 19 European nations require transgender people to undergo genital removal surgery and sterilization before they can legally change gender. Most also require a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria or transsexualism - currently classified as mental illnesses by the World Health Organization, although the group plans to declassify both in the near future.
Most U.S. states require sex-reassignment surgery before legal documents can be changed to reflect an individual's gender identity, while a handful only require than a person be receiving hormone therapy prescribed by a doctor.
California requires only a doctor's signature attesting that the individual is receiving "clinically appropriate treatment" to change legal documents.
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.