BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts prison officials have asked a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling granting a taxpayer-funded sex change for a transgender inmate.

Judge Mark Wolf ruled last year that the state Department of Correction must provide sex-reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence for murder.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

On Tuesday, a lawyer for prison officials told the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Wolf’s ruling expands the Constitution’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment to “new heights.” He says Kosilek has received adequate treatment for gender-identity disorder, including female hormone treatments and laser hair removal.

Kosilek’s lawyer Frances Cohen said Kosilek suffers mental anguish and that surgery is the only adequate treatment.

“She has suffered for a long time with a debilitating medical condition. And this is the surgery that everyone agrees, and the Department of Corrections medical team also agreed would bring her relief and ameliorate her daily suffering,” Cohen said.

Kosilek was born a man and was convicted in the murder of wife Cheryl Kosilek.

The court is expected to rule within three months.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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