Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to transgender inmate, court rules
The state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to a transgender inmate, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a federal judge’s ruling in December that denying the surgery for 31-year-old inmate Adree Edmo would be cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Edmo, who was born male but identifies as a woman, has been living in a men’s prison south of Boise since 2012. She’s serving a prison sentence of three to 10 years for sexually abusing a child under 16 years of age, and is set for release in 2021.
Edmo could be the first transgender inmate in the country to undergo the surgery specifically because of a court order, but Idaho Gov. Brad Little said the state is planning to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Edmo’s attorneys said denying the gender confirmation surgery is cruel and unusual punishment because of Edmo’s gender dysphoria.
"It really comes down to: Is this medically necessary care and treatment?" said Deborah Ferguson, one of Edmo’s attorneys.
"We provided the court with some very, very high-quality expert testimony about the care and treatment necessary for her gender dysphoria, which is severe, and the medically necessary treatment is gender confirmation surgery.”
In response to the appeals court ruling, Gov. Little stated in part: “The court’s decision is extremely disappointing. 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. I intend to appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
When asked for comment, the Idaho Department of Correction said they have nothing to add beyond what the governor said in his statement.