HARRISBURG, Pa. - A state lawmaker wants to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for some transgender inmate medical care. What's being called the "Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act" would ban inmates from receiving sex confirmation surgery or hormone therapy unless they foot the bill.
State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, representing Clinton and Centre Counties, plans to introduce legislation to ban the Department of Corrections from using taxpayer dollars to fund sex confirmation surgery and hormone therapy for inmates. In a statement, Borowicz called the services "outrageous and completely unnecessary."
The Department of Corrections tells FOX43, they have not funded any gender affirmation surgeries. But, they are currently providing medication for hormone therapy for 99 inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which costs the DOC about $600 per inmate, per year. They say in comparison, the average cost to provide health care to an inmate is about $5,500 per year.
“Having access to that care is a basic fundamental right," said Jessica Purdy, LGBTQ activist in Lancaster County.
Purdy tells FOX43, she questions if this soon-to-be legislation were to become law, how it would hold up in court. She points to a ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Citing Eight Amendment protections, the court ruled gender confirmation surgery as medically necessary for a transgender inmate in Idaho.
“This isn’t about someone’s religion. This isn’t about someone’s belief," said Purdy. "This is about someone’s life. This is about not taking away rights from someone because you don’t agree with who they are.”
State Rep. Borowicz was not available to speak with us on the legislation she plans to introduce. FOX43 was given this statement by Borowicz in response to our request for an interview:
“Recently, I issued a co-sponsor memo seeking support for the Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act, which would prohibit the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ current misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund costly sex change procedures for any inmate diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria.’
“Once fully informed, I have no doubt that the majority of hard-working Pennsylvania taxpayers will also support my legislation because they do not want any taxes taken from their paychecks to cover the outrageous and completely unnecessary expenditures for prison inmate gender-reassignment surgery or the administration of hormone therapy.”