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Wisconsin Trans Prisoners Can Receive Treatment


A federal court ruled on Wednesday that transgender prisoners serving time must be allowed to continue hormone treatments in Wisconsin prisons.

The Wisconsin legislature passed a law, effective January 2006, which barred prison doctors from administering or prescribing hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people while in state custody.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin's ruling on Wednesday would not grant all inmates access to hormones or surgery, but now doctors can decide whether transgender inmates can receive care, as opposed to a blanket law.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed a challenge to the law on behalf of transgender prisoners, shortly after it went into effect. Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal's Transgender Rights Attorney, hailed the decision.

"The court understood that medical treatment is critical for transgender people and that medical decisions should be made by doctors--not legislators," Levasseur said in a press release. "The state cannot decide to withhold treatment from people because they disapprove of their gender identity or medical needs--it's unconstitutional."

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