First Circuit: No taxpayer-funded ‘sex change’ for jail inmate
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a previous order that would have required the state of Massachusetts to pay for “sex-change” surgery for a man convicted of murdering his wife, reports LifeSiteNews.
In January 2014, a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit upheld a district court decision ruling that by not providing Robert Kosilek – who now goes by the name “Michelle” – with “medically necessary” “sex-change” surgery to treat his gender dysphoria, the Massachusetts Department of Correction was engaging in “cruel and unusual punishment” – a violation of his 8th amendment rights.
DOC officials testified that they had done the best they could in following the advice of Kosilek’s therapist in treating his gender dysphoria – a disorder in which patients believe they were born into the “wrong” biological sex. He was permitted to legally change his name to Michelle; has been provided with female hormone pills, facial electrolysis, and women’s clothing; and enjoys routine psychotherapy aimed at easing his discomfort with his male biology. But the DOC argued that giving him “sex-change” surgery would force them into a no-win situation when it came to security: Either the post-operative Kosilek would remain housed in the men’s facility where he has resided since his conviction in 1993, putting him at increased risk of sexual assault; or they would have to transfer him to a women’s prison, where his greater male strength would put the female inmates at greater risk of injury in case of a fight.
The DOC also argued that giving Kosilek the surgery would set a dangerous precedent of inmates making suicide threats or attempts in order to get what they want, since “suicidal ideation” was used by the lower court to justify the necessity of the taxpayer-funded “sex change.” They also worried that transport to and from the hospital for the surgery, as well as the hospital stay itself, would present too many opportunities for Kosilek to escape confinement.
In a 2-to-1 decision, the 3-judge appeals panel dismissed the DOC’s arguments and ordered them to provide the surgery despite their objections. In response, the DOC appealed the ruling to the entire 1st Circuit.