Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed two bills Wednesday banning transgender procedures on minors and banning trans-identifying students from using public school bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t align with their biological sex.
Reynolds, the first woman elected to the office in the Hawkeye State, authorized both bills — SF 482 and SF 538 — into law, which take effect immediately amid Iowa Republicans introducing several bills relating to LGBTQ issues, specifically pertaining to children.
In addition to prohibiting trans-identifying students from using campus bathrooms and locker rooms different from their biological sex, SF 482, otherwise known as the “Bathroom Bill,” requires public schools to maintain separate restrooms, locker rooms, showers, dressing areas, and overnight accommodations for students of the opposite sex. Students can request special accommodations if they “desire greater privacy,” according to the bill.
“I’m a parent. I’m a grandmother. I know how difficult this is. This is an extremely uncomfortable position for me to be in,” Reynolds said, according to local media. “You know, I don’t like it, but I have to do what I believe is right now is in the best interest of the kids [sic].”
While Republican supporters of the bill argue the restrictions protect the privacy and safety of students, Democrats deny that trans-identifying students in Iowa using facilities opposite of their biological sex have had any issues. Opponents also say the bill would further cause harassment to such students.
Iowa’s other newly-signed bill, SF 538, prohibits state doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy to children under 18, in addition to performing surgeries on minors opposite of their biological sex.
“I believe that the science isn’t conclusive to support what we’re potentially doing to our kids,” Reynolds said. “These are irreversible. We don’t even understand the long-term effects.”
Although both laws took effect immediately, according to the bill, children who have already started transgender procedures have six months to stop. Healthcare providers have 180 days to cease administering trans procedures to their patients.
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In response to both bills signed into law, Corey Jacobson, president of CR Pride Board, told local media, “the governor has taken away a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their children and has exposed transgender youth to potential harm.”
Iowa’s move comes the day before Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill banning certain transgender procedures on minors in the state.
Georgia Senate Bill 140 prohibits minors from receiving hormone replacement therapies and sex reassignment surgeries to treat gender dysphoria in licensed healthcare facilities, The Hill reported.
“As Georgians, parents, and elected leaders, it is our highest responsibility to safeguard the bright, promising futures of our kids — and SB 140 takes an important step in fulfilling that mission,” Kemp said in a statement posted to Twitter.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) March 23, 2023