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Rep. Tom Hooker wants prison sex change operations outlawed

August 26, 2011

GONGWER NEWS SERVICE — Rep. Hooker wants prison sex change operations outlawed after the American Family Association (of Michigan) brought the issue to his attention, he found other states like Washington and Massachusetts are mired in court battles over the subject.

The Department of Corrections will not pay for a prisoner to receive a life-saving organ transplant, so the chances it would offer to pay for an inmate’s sex change is beyond slim. Still, one legislator has introduced a bill just to be sure it never does happen.

“We never have and never would,” corrections spokesperson Russ Marlan said of the possibility of performing a trans-gender operation.

If an inmate ever requested it, the chief medical officer would respond with a denial, Mr. Marlan said.

But that’s a policy decision and policy-makers and corrections officials change, which is why Rep. Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center) introduced HB 4889 that would prohibit the use of public funding of sex change operations.

Such an operation could cost the state $50,000 to $60,000, he said.

“I don’t think that’s something Michigan taxpayers should have to cover,” Mr. Hooker said. “I just want to make sure it’s never an
option.”

Mr. Marlan said the legislation would solidify what is already the department’s practice of only providing medically necessary care.

“We’re required to provide them medical care, but it’s not like anything they want, they get,” Mr. Marlan said.

Mr. Hooker said there has not been a case like this in Michigan, but after the American Family Association (of Michigan) brought the issue to his attention, he found other states like Washington and Massachusetts are mired in court battles over the subject.

“I wanted to make sure we are preemptive rather than reactive,” he said.

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