A federal judge on Tuesday ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison for murder.
U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled in the case of Michelle Kosilek, who was born as a man but has received hormone treatments and lives as a woman in an all-male prison.
Robert Kosilek was convicted of murder in the killing of his wife in 1990. He will be the first prisoner in the nation to receive a state-funded sex change operation.
Kosilek first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 12 years ago.
'Everybody has the right to have their health care needs met, whether they are in prison or out on the streets. People in the prisons who have bad hearts, hips or knees have surgery to repair those things,' Kosilek said last year from a state prison in Norfolk, Mass.
'My medical needs are no less important or more important than the person in the cell next to me.'
Two years later, Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering surgery.
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