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U.S. appeals court to hear arguments in inmate sex change case

FILE - This May 1990 file booking photo provided by the New Rochelle, N.Y., police department, shows Robert Kosilek, arrested on drunken driving charges. Kosilek was convicted for the May 1990 murder of his wife, and now lives as a woman named Michelle Kosilek, in a Massachusetts prison serving a life sentence for murder. State prison officials will argue before a federal appeals court Thursday, May 8, 2014 in Boston, that the state should not have to pay for sex change surgery for Kosilek. A federal judge ruled in 2012 the state Department of Correction must provide surgery to treat Kosilek's gender-identity disorder. (AP Photo/New Rochelle Police Department, File)

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FILE - This May 1990 file booking photo provided by the New Rochelle, N.Y., police department, shows Robert Kosilek, arrested on drunken driving charges. Kosilek was convicted for the May 1990 murder of his wife, and now lives as a woman named Michelle Kosilek, in a Massachusetts prison serving a life sentence for murder. State prison officials will argue before a federal appeals court Thursday, May 8, 2014 in Boston, that the state should not have to pay for sex change surgery for Kosilek. A federal judge ruled in 2012 the state Department of Correction must provide surgery to treat Kosilek's gender-identity disorder. (AP Photo/New Rochelle Police Department, File)

BOSTON - Massachusetts prison officials are arguing before a federal appeals court that the state should not have to pay for sex change surgery for an inmate serving life for a murder conviction.

Michelle Kosilek, then known as Robert Kosilek, was convicted of killing spouse Cheryl Kosilek in 1990.

A federal judge ruled in 2012 the state Department of Correction must provide surgery to treat Kosilek's gender-identity disorder. Kosilek, now in her early 60s, was transitioning to a female identity before the killing.

In January, three judges of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling saying receiving medical treatment is everyone's constitutional right.

Prison officials say Kosilek has been given female hormones, laser hair removal and psychotherapy.

The full appeals court is hearing arguments in the case Thursday.

Note to readers: Court hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. ET.

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