Court-order sex reassignment surgery for a transgender prisoner was turned down by the Supreme Court, May 21, Washington DC.
Transgender woman prisoner, Adree Edmo was favored by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. stated that they would have granted the prison officials’ request for a stay of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
Ms Edmo who’s about to be released next year was convicted for sexually assaulting a 15-year old boy. She has a psychological distress called gender dysphoria and has been receiving treatment like hormone therapy and counseling. This psychological distress is marked by a congruence between the experienced gender and the assigned gender at birth.
Dr. Scott Eliason initially denied her request despite of Ms. Edmo’s twice attempt of self-castration. Ms. Edmo argued that impeding the surgery is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Garnering a unanimous three-judge panel decision of the Ninth Circuit, she won the court trial and panel wrote in unsigned opinion: . “It is no leap to conclude that Edmo’s severe, ongoing psychological distress and the high risk of self-castration and suicide she faces absent surgery constitute irreparable harm,”
Subsequent to the refusal of rehearing the case by the full Ninth Circuit, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain together with the other eight judges wrote that the panel is placed under exceeding pressure by the standards from World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which he remarked as “a controversial self-described advocacy group that dresses up ideological commitments as evidence-based conclusions.”
Judge O’Scannlain wrote: “I do not know whether sex-reassignment surgery will ameliorate or exacerbate Adree Edmo’s suffering,” He added: “Fortunately, the Constitution does not ask federal judges to put on white coats and decide vexed questions of psychiatric medicine.”
While the Supreme Court pleaded to intervene, prison officials wrote that “under the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation, medical decision-making that conflicts with the views of advocacy organizations is enough to establish an Eighth Amendment violation.”
While, Ms. Edmo’s lawyers retaliated that the association’s standards were widely accepted by medical groups
Nevertheless, her brief said, the lower court decision was established, her circumstance cannot be modified to any universal standards. “The evidentiary record established that gender confirmation surgery is a safe and effective treatment for individuals with severe gender dysphoria and that this treatment was medically necessary for Ms. Edmo, who experiences such profound distress that she has attempted to castrate herself twice and now cuts her arms in an attempt to distract herself from her acute gender dysphoria,” the brief said. “Whether one person or 100 people have previously been provided gender confirmation surgery in prison is not relevant to determining whether that surgery is medically necessary for Ms. Edmo.”