Ellen K. Feder began thinking about the ethical questions raised by the treatment of children and youth with atypical sexual anatomies in 1999, when she was invited to participate in the first panel on intersex at the American Philosophical Association.
She served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Intersex Society of North America from 2005 until it closed its doors in 2008. She has published articles and book chapters addressing the experience of parents of children with atypical sexual anatomy, the nature of the harm inflicted by normalizing interventions, the change in nomenclature, and, with historian Alice Dreger and attorney Anne-Tamar-Mattis, the administration of dexamethasone to pregnant women at risk of giving birth to female children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Making Sense of Intersex: Changing Ethical Perspectives in Bioethics will be published by Indiana University Press in April 2014. Feder’s current project is concerned with medical apology in the context of the care of children with atypical sexual anatomies, and the ethical obligations entailed by effecting harm in the absence of “bad intentions.”
She teaches philosophy at American University in Washington, DC where she lives with her spouse and children.