The Idaho Department of Corrections on Wednesday appealed a decision handed down in a U.S District Court that would require them to provide gender reassignment surgery to a male inmate.

On Dec. 13, U.S District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled that the IDOC had to provide the surgery within six months of his ruling. The inmate in question, Adree Edmo, is a man who identifies as a woman.

Idaho Governor Brad Little announced the appeal Wednesday afternoon. Gov. Little said in a news release that “the hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a prisoner’s gender reassignment surgery” because individual insurance plans would not cover such a procedure.

If the IDOC loses the appeal and provides the surgery, it would mark the first time an inmate in the department’s custody has went through the procedure. 

Edmo is serving a three to 10 year sentence in the Idaho State Correctional Center in Boise for sexually abusing a child in Bannock County. He is currently scheduled to be released in July 2021.

IDOC chairman Dr. David McClusky said medical professionals disagree on whether or not denying the surgery is a cruel and unusual punishment.

"If Ms. Edmo had a broken arm, we'd all agree it should be treated," Dr. McClusky said. "But disagreement among medical professionals in this case does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment."

The case will be referred to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for further proceedings.