Court Rules That Wisconsin Law Prohibiting Prisoners From Receiving Hormone Therapy Is Unconstitutional

Congratulations to our great colleagues and allies at Lambda Legal and the ACLU for a tremendous victory for transgender people.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District for Wisconsin ruled yesterday that the 2005 Wisconsin law prohibiting transgender prisoners from accessing hormone therapy is unconstitutional. The Court found that the law (Wis. Stat. §302.386(5m)) was unconstitutional because it violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal represented the plaintiffs, who were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Both plaintiffs are transgender women who were on hormone therapy before they were incarcerated.

NCTE supports the Court’s decision because individuals’ medical decisions should be made between doctors and patients. Lawmakers should not be enacting discriminatory laws that withhold necessary medical treatments from a specific population. Additionally, laws like the one at issue in this case codify outmoded stereotypes and beliefs that have no basis on science and accepted medical standards of care. Medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recognize that hormone therapy and other transition-related care are medically necessary for transgender people.

NCTE congratulates the ACLU and Lambda Legal for their huge win for the transgender community.

3 Responses to Court Rules That Wisconsin Law Prohibiting Prisoners From Receiving Hormone Therapy Is Unconstitutional

  1. Karen Grayson says:

    If a prisoner had a heart condition and required medication, would the prison system deny that person the proper medication? NO. A Transgendered person who has been pn HRT should be treated as just another prisoner requiring medication. These prisoners were denied medication only because of who they were by someone who wanted to make a statement of their own. Male, Female prisoner or just a citizen we should all be treated equally and with dignity.

  2. Anne says:

    It’s about time! How does this affect other states?

  3. mulkkim says:

    Since this ruling was made by a Wisconsin court on a Wisconsin law, its effect on other states’ treatment of transgender prisoners will be indirect. State legislatures may take note of this ruling and change their policies toward transgender prisoners in a positive direction (or not). Litigators who represent transgender prisoners in other states may cite this case to argue that transgender people should not be denied necessary medical treatment when they are incarcerated.

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