Ninth Circuit Affirms Decision Ordering Idaho Prison to Provide Gender Confirmation Surgery to Transgender Prisoner
On August 23, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho and ordered the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) to provide gender confirmation surgery to Plaintiff Adree Edmo. IDOC appealed the District Court’s December 13, 2018 order to the Ninth Circuit.
In its 85-page opinion, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit found that the district court’s “detailed factual findings were amply supported by its careful review of the extensive evidence and testimony” and held:
[W]here, as here, the record shows that the medically necessary treatment for a prisoner’s gender dysphoria is gender confirmation surgery, and responsible prison officials deny such treatment with full awareness of the prisoner’s suffering, those officials violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
The Ninth Circuit concluded by “urg[ing] the State to move forward” with Ms. Edmo’s medically necessary surgery. This is the first federal appellate decision ordering a state to provide a prisoner gender confirmation surgery.
Ms. Edmo, a Native American transgender woman diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria, has been in IDOC custody since 2012. Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai partner Shaleen Shanbhag, along with co-counsel Rifkin Law Office, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Ferguson Durham, PLLC represent Ms. Edmo in the lawsuit Edmo v. Idaho Department of Correction.