California has taken another dubious lead in promoting progressive woke ideology at taxpayer expense. Since 2017, the state has used more than $4 million in public money to fund gender-related surgeries for inmates, records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveal. This hefty sum covered the costs for 157 inmates, including vaginoplasties, breast implants, and other procedures, with a notable portion of beneficiaries being death row inmates.
The state’s actions stem from a 2016 legal settlement, which now sees California offering surgeries for prisoners wishing to alter their gender presentation. This initiative, allegedly rooted in “respect for individual rights,” has led to a staggering increase in the number of inmates identifying as transgender — a rise from 131 in 2014 to 1,847 in 2023. The sheer scale of the budget allocated for these procedures is drawing scrutiny. The upcoming fiscal year alone anticipates an additional $2.187 million for the “Integrated Gender Affirming Healthcare Program,” covering costs from medical staff to surgical procedures.
California has spent $4 million on sex changes and gender surgeries for prisoners since 2017https://t.co/9ok9XrLvKn
— MrTzo (@Gutz64376589) November 7, 2023
Critics argue that the spending on these surgeries is excessive, especially when compared to more conservative policies surrounding other medical care like dental services. Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, representing California inmates in different contexts, has voiced concern, stating that while transgender individuals deserve respect, funding surgeries with taxpayer money is questionable, especially when they are considered experimental and lack scientific justification.
The financial implications are only part of the debate. The policy has also led to complications within the prison system itself. Reports of issues in women’s prisons arising from the transfer of male inmates identifying as female have sparked legal actions and raised questions about safety and appropriateness.
Moreover, the fact that individuals on death row have received state-funded surgeries adds another layer of controversy. With a moratorium on the death penalty, resources that could be allocated to other penitentiary needs or broader societal issues are being directed to fund surgeries for those with the most severe criminal sentences.
This fiscal prioritization comes at a time when the state has not conducted an execution in over 17 years. Yet, the government continues to fund life-altering surgeries for those who, in many cases, have been removed from society due to the gravity of their crimes.
California’s approach to gender-affirming care for inmates reflects a broader trend in liberal states, with both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also spending millions on similar procedures. As debates continue over the best use of public funds, the case of California highlights the intersection of healthcare, taxpayer responsibility and the complex web of moral and legal considerations surrounding the rights and treatments of prisoners.
While the state maintains that each surgery is approved on a case-by-case basis without limits on procedure types, the numbers tell a story of rapid growth and increasing budget strains. With the inmate population identifying as transgender multiplying, the state’s budget for their care follows suit, raising the question: Where is the line drawn for taxpayer-funded inmate healthcare?