Court order: Idaho must provide surgery to transgender inmate


BOISE, Idaho (KIVI/CNN) — The state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to an inmate housed at the Department of Corrections.

That’s the ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Adree Edmo will be the first transgender inmate in the U.S. to undergo surgery thanks to a court order.

The ruling means Edmo will be the first transgender inmate in the country to receive the surgery specifically because of a court order, but Idaho Gov. Brad Little says the state is planning to take this case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The court’s decision centers around the Eighth Amendment, whether denying the gender confirmation surgery is cruel and unusual punishment, something Edmo’s attorneys say would be, given her gender dysphoria.

“What it really comes down to is … is this medically necessary care treatment,” attorney Deborah Ferguson.

Six on Your Side previously spoke with one of Edmo’s attorneys about the case and what went down in court a few months back when the federal appeals court ruled Idaho Department of Correction does not have to provide the surgery until stated otherwise.

“We provided the court with some very, very high-quality expert testimony about the care treatment necessary for her gender dysphoria, which is severe, and the medically necessary treatment is gender confirmation surgery,” Ferguson said.

A panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit agreed with the decision made by a federal judge last December, that denying the surgery is cruel and unusual punishment.

However, it doesn’t necessarily end here. Gov. Brad Little responded to the ruling, stating 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.”

Six on Your Side reached out to both Edmo’s legal team and the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections said they have nothing to add beyond what Gov. Little said in his statement.

Edmo is currently housed in a men’s prison south of Boise.

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