A federal judge caused a stir when he ruled that a transgender inmate has a constitutional right to taxpayer-funded sexual reassignment surgery. However, once the governor heard about the ruling, he issued a statement of his own.
For 31-year-old Adree Edmo, life has been just as criminal as it has been confusing. The biological man, who identifies as a woman, has been housed in an Idaho men’s prison since 2012 for sexually abusing a child under the age of 16. Sadly, he also suffers from gender dysphoria, with which he was diagnosed, and has tried to castrate himself twice.
For years, the child predator has physically presented himself as a female to the best of his ability. However, it simply isn’t enough. Edmo doesn’t just want to dress like a woman; he wants to go through gender reassignment surgery, a process which offers patients a bodily imitation of the opposite sex’s genital organ.
Of course, a prison inmate’s salary doesn’t allow for such a medical privilege as cosmetic surgery. So, Edmo decided to force society to pay for it. As such, he took his case to U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, winning the right to have a sex change on behalf of taxpayers and to be transferred to a women’s prison, KOCO reports.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal judge’s ruling, ensuring that Edmo will get his costly and dangerous surgery. As outrageous as it is to think that anyone has the right to force others to pay for gender reassignment surgery, Edmo’s plans will go ahead without issue — that was until the governor caught wind of the ruling.
According to NPR, Gov. Brad Little (R) has announced to fight the court decision ruling that taxpayers must cough up tens of thousands of dollars for the child rapist’s gender reassignment surgery. Indignant over the decision, Little vowed to take measures to prevent the state from paying upwards of $30,000 for Edmo’s surgery.
In a statement, Gov. Brad Little wrote, “We cannot divert critical public dollars away from the higher priorities of keeping the public safe and rehabilitating offenders. The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.”
The court ruling mandates that Idaho has 90 days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, which Gov. Little is willing to do. However, Edmo’s attorney, Lori Rifkin, criticized the governor’s announcement as “reprehensible.”
“She (Edmo) suffers every single day while they have denied this treatment to her for years and there can be no reason justifying Idaho’s continued refusal to provide her care except bias,” Rifkin said.
Although Edmo’s condition is psychological, the court has ruled that biological treatment must be pursued to alleviate his symptoms. The court has decided that such a privilege at the taxpayers’ expense is protected by the Constitution.
“It is enough that [her doctor] knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to Edmo’s health by rejecting her request for [gender confirmation surgery] and then never re-evaluating his decision despite ongoing harm to Edmo,” the judges wrote. “[P]rison authorities have not provided that treatment despite full knowledge of Edmo’s ongoing and extreme suffering and medical needs.”
The ruling sets a precedent that state prisons will have to provide inmates who experience severe gender dysphoria with surgery if deemed medically necessary. Of course, the stipulation will be at the whim of whoever is charged with evaluating the inmate.
Edmo’s surgery is in the process of being scheduled, although medical professionals must wait for the appeals process to conclude. Only time will tell if he will be granted the privilege of receiving the surgical changes.
The Constitution guarantees that American citizens have the right to pursue happiness as they see fit within the bounds of the law. However, it doesn’t guarantee that taxpayers should be forced to fund it. While seeking to protect the rights of one, the courts have directly infringed upon the rights of others.