A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling that said the state must provide a taxpayer-funded sex change for a convicted Massachusetts murderer as part of the individual's constitutional rights.
In this Jan. 15, 1993 file photo, Robert J. Kosilek, now known as Michelle Kosilek, sits in Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford, Mass., where Kosilek was on trial for the May 1990 murder of his wife. (AP Photo/Lisa Bul, file)
In a 2-1 ruling, the court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled courts “must not shrink from their obligation to enforce the constitutional rights of all persons, including prisoners," according to the Boston Globe.
“And receiving medically necessary treatment is one of those rights, even if that treatment strikes some as odd or unorthodox,” the court reportedly said.
[sharequote align="center"]"...receiving medically necessary treatment is one of those rights..."[/sharequote]
The 80-page decision would pave the way for Michelle Kosilek to receive the first court-ordered, state-funded sex change for a U.S. prisoner.
According to the Boston Globe, the Department of Correction said it is working to "determine next steps."
Kosilek was named "Robert" when convicted of murdering his wife, Cheryl McCaul, in 1990, the Associated Press reported. After prison officials declined to provide a sex reassignment surgery, Kosilek sued the Department of Correction and a federal judge later ruled in 2012 the surgery was the "only adequate treatment" for the gender identity disorder Kosilek purportedly suffered from.
The Associated Press reported that prison officials have said they are worried about Kosilek's safety, should a surgery take place.
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