The Court ruled that the state law violates the equal protection clause and is an unconstitutional form of cruel and unusual punishment because it denies hormone therapy without considering individual inmates’ medical needs or the judgment of their doctors.
What is most interesting is that the court applied the rational basis test, which is usually an easily satisfied test for states. Here is the court order: HormonesOrder
The Court held:
After careful consideration, the court concludes that the defendants’ application of Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) to these plaintiffs constitutes deliberate indifference to the plaintiff’s serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment inasmuch as enforcement of the statute results in the denial of hormone therapy without regard for the individual medical needs of inmates and the medical judgment of their health care providers.
The court further finds that Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) is unconstitutional on its face under the Eighth Amendment because it bans the use of any Wisconsin State resources or federal funds passing through the government to provide hormone therapy and, thereby, requires the withdrawal of any such ongoing hormone therapy for inmates in DOC facilities without regard for the medical need for that treatment.
The court further finds that Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) prevents DOC medical personnel from evaluating inmates for treatment because such evaluation would be futile in light of the statute’s ban on such hormone therapy. Furthermore, the application of Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) to the plaintiffs violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to equal protection because there is no rational basis for treating the plaintiffs differently than similarly situated inmates.
The court further finds there is no rational basis for Wis. Stat. § 302.386(5m) and that the statute is invalid on its face, as it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The law does seem poorly crafted in failing to consider the health consequences of cessation of such treatment. The law states that the DOC “may not authorize the payment of any funds or the use of any resources of this state or the payment of any federal funds passing through the state treasury to provide or to facilitate the provision of hormonal therapy or sexual reassignment surgery” to any inmate in a state prison, correctional
facility, or secured child caring institution, or to any forensic patient in a state institution. There is no allowance for a review of the health consequences by doctors — an obvious problem that should have been foreseen by the legislators.
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