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Mass. prison officials appeal sex-change ruling

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January 31, 2014 12:08 PM EST | AP


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts prison officials are appealing a decision that would force taxpayers to pay for a sex-change operation for a transgender inmate serving a life sentence for murder.

The state Department of Correction said Friday it will request a hearing by the full 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Michelle Kosilek.

Two weeks ago, a three-judge panel of the same court upheld a judge's decision granting Kosilek's request for sex-reassignment surgery. The rehearing would be before the full court of six justices.

The appeals court panel said receiving medically necessary treatment is a constitutional right that must be protected "even if that treatment strikes some as odd or unorthodox."

Michelle Kosilek was born Robert Kosilek and was convicted in the killing of spouse Cheryl Kosilek in 1990.