Divided U.S. Appeals Court OK’s Inmate’s Taxpayer-Funded Sex Change Surgery


A federal appeals court upheld a judge's ruling that a transsexual Massachusetts inmate convicted of murder is entitled to a taxpayer-funded sex change operation as treatment for her severe gender identity disorder, the Boston Globe reports. In a first-of-a-kind ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said courts must not shy away from enforcing the rights of all people. “And receiving medically necessary treatment is one of those rights, even if that treatment strikes some as odd or unorthodox,” the court ruled, 2 to 1.

Convicted wife killer Michelle Kosilek, formerly Robert Kosilek, struggled for years with feelings she was a woman in a man's body. Kosilek strangled his wife, Cheryl, in 1990 and dumped her body in a car at a mall. Kosilek began battling state prison officials in 1992, the year she was convicted, seeking surgery. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf ordered the surgery to take place, finding that Kosilek had a serious medical need that could only be adequately treated with the surgery. Wolf said denying the surgery would violate of Kosilek's right to adequate prison medical care under the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

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