In a bizarre reflection of priorities when it comes to taxpayer dollars, a California murderer recently received sex-reassignment surgery in order to provide what the prisoner called a “drastic internal completeness,” as noted in The New York Times. 57 year old Shiloh Heavenly Quine is the first inmate to receive state funded sex-reassignment surgery, marking a landmark case in the California legal system. The Chicago Tribune discussed why the request for such a surgery was granted:
California was legally required to pay for the operation, corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.
“The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that prisons provide inmates with medically necessary treatment for medical and mental health conditions, including inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” Thornton said in a statement.
This is an obvious perversion of the Eighth Amendment.
Quine is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for kidnapping and murdering 33-year old Shahid Ali Baig in February of 1980. The violence, which occurred in downtown Los Angeles, was fueled by alcohol and drugs, and also included Quine and an accomplice stealing $80 and Baig’s car.
According to DailyMail.com, the daughter of Quine’s victim is appalled about Quine’s procedure being payed for by tax-payer dollars:
My dad [Shahid Ali Baig] begged for his life,’ said Farida Baig, who tried unsuccessfully to block Quine’s surgery through the courts.
‘It just made me dizzy and sick. I’m helping pay for his surgery. I live in California. It’s kind of like a slap in the face, she added.
Although a growing number of public health insurance plans contain defined benefits covering sex-reassignment procedures nevertheless it seems quite odd to allow for a convicted killer to have free access to at the expense of taxpayers. Not only is this decision a frivolous use of taxpayer dollars, it is prioritizing the feelings and needs of a murderer over those of innocent citizens.
Not only is this surgery an unnecessary accommodation, it is an expensive one. According to Yahoo News:
Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal court-appointed official who controls California’s prison medical care, said the cost of sex-reassignment surgeries could approach $100,000, including procedures and medications before and after the operation.
The judicial system of California needs to be held accountable for making responsible decisions when it comes to using taxpayer money for unnecessary and controversial things like gender-transition surgeries for its inmates. A convicted killer should not be given preference or exclusive access to healthcare that is out of reach for the majority of the general public. This is the wrong message for courts to send to both taxpayers and criminals.