- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 31, 2002

Robert Kosilek was a man when he commited murder, but now he's all woman or wants to be if he can force the state of Massachusetts to finance the sex-change operation he argues is necessary to his mental health.

A federal judge has already ruled that Kosilek, who now goes by the name Michelle, is entitled to taxpayer-subsidized gender identity disorder treatments. Kosilek, 53, sued the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, claiming that its refusal to finance the operation that would turn him from a man into a woman amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the Eight Amendment. The U.S. district court judge who ruled in Kosilek's favor on the question of gender identity disorder treatments, Mark L. Wolf, "left open the possibility of an operation if medical experts deemed it necessary." Judge Wolf ordered further examination of Kosilek, as well as possible hormone treatment in the event the "experts" think that's appropriate.

It's bad enough that taxpayers have to sacrifice money that would otherwise go to the support of their own well-being and that of their families in order to pay for the care, feeding and imprisonment of violent criminals. That is the price we all have to pay to keep them off the streets. Worse, though, is the legal system apparently buying into the arguments presented by Kosilek and his attorneys. If this person is entitled to a sex-change operation on the basis of his mental view of himself/herself, will other prisoners be entitled to face lifts and tummy tucks? How about a little lipo for overweight cons who have trouble with their body image?

Kosilek justly forfeited his freedom when he murdered his wife. If his mental stability is in question as it should be then he ought to be placed into a facility that deals with the mentally disturbed. But the people of Massachusetts should not have to pay for the treatments being demanded by this person and his legal team.

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