Appeals court to decide on transgender inmate's surgery

This Dec. 10, 2014, photo provided by the Idaho Department of Correction shows Adree Edmo. A federal appellate court will hear arguments Thursday, May 16, 2019, in a lawsuit brought by Edmo, a transgender Idaho inmate, who says the state is wrongly dThe Associated Press
This Dec. 10, 2014, photo provided by the Idaho Department of Correction shows Adree Edmo. A federal appellate court will hear arguments Thursday, May 16, 2019, in a lawsuit brought by Edmo, a transgender Idaho inmate, who says the state is wrongly denying her gender confirmation surgery. (Idaho Department of Correction via AP)

Attorneys for Idaho prison officials say a transgender inmate who is suing for access to gender confirmation surgery is too mentally unstable to receive the irreversible medical procedure.

Attorney Brady Hall told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday that despite a lower court's ruling, Idaho has no policy barring gender confirmation surgery for transgender inmates. Rather, Hall said, prison policy specifically allows the treatment if it's deemed medically appropriate.

He said doctors for inmate Adree (Ah-DREE) Edmo, however, believed she first needed therapy to address her uncontrolled mental health issues and that Edmo refused to cooperate.

But Edmo's attorney, Lori Rifkin, said Idaho officials are treating Edmo's condition differently than they would any other medical concern.

Rifkin said Edmo was receiving hormone therapy and counseling, but her suffering was so great that she twice tried to cut off her own testicles in her prison cell. She said that since those attempts, the state has offered Edmo no additional treatment, and that every day is a struggle for the inmate to survive.

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