COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Ohio prison officials have refused to prescribe Premarin hormone replacement pills for a 45-year-old convict from Cuyahoga County who says he is in the process of changing his gender from male to female. The prisoner is serving a 12-month sentence for soliciting and contends his civil-rights are being violated because medical personnel at Belmont Correctional Institution won't give him the tablets in twice-a-day doses.
The state says it only gives pills for chronic health conditions, or when prescriptions are needed to sustain life. It says a sex-change operation does not meet that criteria.
U.S. District Judge George C. Smith of Columbus rejected the inmate's efforts to turn the dispute into a full-blown constitutional issue Wednesday. He said the prisoner had not exhausted his administrative appeals within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. The inmate, who is scheduled for release in March, said in a handwritten note that the pills were prescribed for an eventual sexual re-assignment surgery. ''So please look into this here matter at hand so that hopefully I can continue my homone therapy while here,'' he wrote. "I have a gender identity dysphoria."
Premarin is a conjugated estrogen that has been widely used by women in menopause. There is information here about the prescription drug made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. Prison officials said they do continue some medications in the penal system that prisoners were taking on the outside. They are chronic care meds for hypertension, hyperglycemic conditions, seizures, ashtma, mental health and such. A prison nurse notified the inmate in June that he was out of luck
"Your decision to become sexually reassigned is an elective procedure by you. Premarin is not a medication that is needed to sustain life. Your medication of Premarin wasn't given in the County Jail or started at the receiving center, therefore this medication will be be approved for your future sexual reassignment surger,'' the prison nurse wrote.