Appeals court hears taxpayer-funded sex change case

BOSTON Massachusetts prison officials have asked a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling granting a taxpayer-funded sex change for a transgender inmate.

Judge Mark Wolf ruled last year that the state Department of Correction must provide sex-reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence for murder.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for prison officials told the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Wolf's ruling expands the Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment to "new heights." He says Kosilek has received adequate treatment for gender-identity disorder, including female hormone treatments and laser hair removal.

Kosilek's lawyer said Kosilek suffers mental anguish and that surgery is the only adequate treatment.

Kosilek was born a man and was convicted in the murder of wife Cheryl Kosilek.

The court is expected to rule within three months.