The University of Arizona has spent more than $50,000 defending itself from a lawsuit filed by a professor who claims that she is entitled to gender reassignment surgery under the university healthcare plan.
The University of Arizona has spent $52,386.10 on a lawsuit against one of its own professors. Professor Russell Toomey, a female-to-male transgender person, claims that employees of the university are entitled to gender reassignment surgery under the university’s healthcare plan. The university and the state of Arizona say otherwise.
Toomey’s allies claim that the university could have simply funded Toomey’s gender reassignment surgery with the funds they are using to fight the case. “We wish that the state of Arizona would put its resources toward providing the medically necessary care for transgender employees,” ACLU attorney Molly Brizgys said, “rather than defending this discriminatory and unconstitutional exclusion.”
But it’s not that simple. The University of Arizona claims that it is limited by restrictions put into place by the Arizona Department of Administration. “Defendants have previously urged ADOA to remove the types of coverage exclusions requested by Plaintiff in the Complaint, but ADOA has not eliminated all exclusions,” attorneys for the University of Arizona wrote in court documents.
The case, which was highlighted this week by Campus Reform, could cost the University of Arizona thousands of dollars in additional legal fees.
The University of Arizona College Republicans told Campus Reform that the institution should not be required to pay for the procedure. “We believe that since it is not a medical necessity, the University shouldn’t need to include [the procedure] in its plan,” the student organization said. “It is one’s choice to go through with that procedure. We do not see it as unconstitutional, but it’s definitely not constitutional to force the University to pay because of one’s choice to go through with an optional procedure.”
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