Where else but California and when but after two terms of the Obama administration’s crusade to “fundamentally transform America” could taxpayers be forced to pay for controversial surgery demanded by a convicted killer?

But California prison officials have not only confirmed that the state will pay for a sex-change operation for one inmate, but that other transgender inmates are now eligible to receive the surgery free of charge.

Shiloh Heavenly Quine, 57, became the first inmate in a U.S. prison to have surgery that changed his physical features from male to female. The surgery took place in San Francisco, of course.

Quine was convicted of kidnapping, robbery and first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, after he and an accomplice kidnapped and held for ransom a 33-year-old father in 1980, robbing him of $80, then murdering him and stealing his car for a getaway.

A California prison psychologist recommended Quine for the surgery to provide Quine with “a drastic, internal completeness,” that will end what the inmate claimed was a lifelong depression that led to five suicide attempts in prison.

“My dad begged for his life,” said Farida Baig, who tried to block Quine's surgery through the courts. “It just made me dizzy and sick.”

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said the state was required to pay for the surgery by the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bars states from imposing “cruel and unusual” punishments on inmates.

“The Eighth Amendment of the US 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 written statement.

“Gender dysphoria” is the new term used in psychology to describe a person’s identification with a gender that does not match his or her physical characteristics.

“For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which represented Quine, as well as other transgender inmates.

A spokeswoman for California’s prison medical care system put the cost of the sex-change surgery at close to $100,000, which Baig calls “a slap in the face. I'm helping pay for his surgery; I live in California.”

Federal taxpayers will also bear some of the financial cost of Quine’s surgery, however, possibly up to 95 percent that the federal government reimburses states for allowable charges.

California prisons now provide nightgowns, scarves and necklaces to transgender inmates housed in men’s facilities, but Quine will now be housed in a women's prison.

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Source: AP

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