Governor Kim Reynolds signed two bills regulating services offered to transgender-identifying minors in Iowa.
Advocates for early medical intervention opposed both bills as dangerous and unsympathetic to the needs of young people who are questioning their gender.
“I’m a parent. I’m a grandmother. I know how difficult this is,” Reynolds said, per Fox News. “This is an extremely uncomfortable position for me to be in. And I don’t like it.”
“But I have to do what I believe, right now, is in the best interest of the kids until we can have some more research done, or we can see what’s happening in some of the other countries that have been doing this, to better understand the impact. I think that’s reasonable,” the governor continues.
The first bill requires individuals to use single or multiple occupancy bathrooms or changing rooms in elementary and secondary schools that correspond to their biological sex.
Students who “desire greater privacy” can request “reasonable accommodations” with parental consent.
State Senator Liz Bennett opposed the bill, calling the policy a “new core of potty police” and warned of a potential increase in school bullying.
“Instead of minding their own business and just going to the bathroom, kids will use this to bully other kids,” said Bennett. “Bills like this continue a line of efforts to use fear and violence to force people into gender roles assigned by society.”
“I do understand and empathize with a child that may not feel comfortable using the bathroom of their biological sex. Accommodations should be made when possible to keep that child comfortable as they change or use the restroom,” counter-argued Representative Steven Holt during a debate. “However, that cannot be done or should not be done at the expense of the privacy and safety of our daughters.”
The second bill prohibits any healthcare professional from prescribing hormones or performing surgeries on genitals or reproductive organs “for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of, or affirm the minor’s perception of the minor’s gender or sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
Exceptions are granted for unhealthy or diseased tissue.
Healthcare providers who violate the law can lose their medical licenses. They may also face lawsuits from individuals who were treated in violation of the law.
Minors currently receiving hormones or other now-prohibited procedures can only continue the treatments for 180 days from March 22, the day Reynolds signed the bill into law.
The Human Right Commission says Iowa is the eighth state to enact new regulations on the treatments offered to individuals experiencing gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender.
“Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth,” the HRC said in a March 22 statement.
Cathryn Oakley, the HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, accused Reynolds and the Iowa legislature of playing “politics with the lives of trans youth.”
“Governor Reynolds has signed into law a dangerous attack on transgender youth in Iowa,” said Oakley. “Banning gender-affirming care not only goes against the medical consensus of every major health organization but jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of young transgender Iowans.”