Boise, ID – A federal appeals court has ruled that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to a convicted sex offender who was born male but identifies as a woman.
Adree Edmo, 31, was convicted of sexually abusing a child under 16 years of age, and has been incarcerated at a men’s prison south of the city since 2012, KIVI reported.
Edmo previously went by the name of Mason Dean Edmo, according to Heavy.
The transgender inmate’s attorneys have alleged that denying Edmo the taxpayer-funded gender confirmation surgery would constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and a federal judge agreed, KIVI reported.
On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s 2018 decision.
“It really comes down to: Is this medically necessary care and treatment?" one of Edmo’s attorneys, Deborah Ferguson, told KIVI. "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.”
The three-judge panel determined that the federal judge’s findings were “logical and well-supported,” and concurred that “responsible prison officials were deliberately indifferent to Edmo’s gender dysphoria, in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” Boise State Public Radio reported.
“Prison authorities have not provided that treatment despite full knowledge of Edmo’s ongoing and extreme suffering and medical needs,” the appeals court decision read.
The convicted child rapist has attempted self-castration on two occasions while in prison, according to Boise State Public Radio.
“I am relieved and grateful the court recognized my right to necessary medical treatment, and that I will get the surgery I need,” Edmo said in a statement, according to Heavy. “I hope my case helps the State of Idaho understand that they can’t deny medical care to transgender people.”
Idaho Governor Brad Little blasted the appeals court’s ruling, and said that the state will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The court’s decision is extremely disappointing,” Little told KIVI. “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.”
“We cannot divert critical public dollars away from the higher priorities of keeping the public safe and rehabilitating offenders,” the governor added.
If the ruling is upheld, Edmo would become the first transgender inmate in the U.S. to receive such a surgery due specifically to a court order, KIVI reported.
The procedure would cost between $20,000 and $30,000, and Edmo would be transferred to a women’s prison if the surgery is completed, according to Boise State Public Radio.
Lori Rifkin, Edmo’s lead attorney, said that her client is suffering every day that the state tries to appeal the decision.
“She 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 declared, according to Boise State Public Radio.