Arizona Republican tries to ban gender reassignment surgery on Medicaid and for prison inmates
Two bills have been introduced in Arizona which seek to ban gender reassignment surgery for those on Medicaid or in prison.
Representative Anthony Kern introduced House bills 2293 and 2294 this week to attempt to limit transgender rights.
He said he is “always in favour of personal freedoms … but never at the expense of the taxpayer.”
In a statement issued by Kern, he said: “The fact of the matter is, taxpayers in California had to foot the bill for [a prison inmate’s] gender-reassignment surgery.”
“Now, the precedent has been set to attempt to push other states into supporting this.”
The move has been criticised by human rights and LGBT groups.
Ashton Skinner the transgender-outreach coordinator for diversity-and-inclusion coalition ONE Community described Kern’s bills as “discriminatory and misguided.”
“Seeking pre-emptive exclusions on services that currently do not exist is playing politics with people’s lives,” Skinner added.
“Transgender Americans already face disproportionate hardships and discrimination seeking and gaining access to health care that can be life-saving,” he said. “We shouldn’t create additional and unnecessary obstacles.”
Last year the federal Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations banning discrimination based on gender identity.
While the new regulations do not specifically require access to gender reassignment surgery, they do require equal access to services.