7th Circuit: Prisoners to Receive Hormone Therapy for Identity Issues
A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a ruling deeming Wisconsin’s ban on taxpayer-funded hormone therapy for transgender prison inmates unconstitutional.
Former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, signed the law in 2005, after a prisoner who’d been receiving hormone therapy sued the state in an effort to force the prison to pay for his sex-change operation. A federal judge struck the law down in 2010.
“Surely, had the Wisconsin Legislature passed a law that (Department of Corrections) inmates with cancer must be treated only with therapy and pain killers, this court would have no trouble concluding that the law was unconstitutional,” the judges wrote. He added that denying hormones to gender-confused inmates serves no valid purpose and “amounts to torture.”
At press time, the state attorney general was reviewing his options, which could be either to ask the entire 7th Circuit to hear the case, or appeal it directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We don’t believe the Constitution requires prison officials to provide hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery to prisoners,” Department of Justice spokesman Steve Means said in a written statement.