Iowa Senate GOP votes to ban gender transition meds, procedures for minors

DES MOINES — Republicans in the Iowa Senate have approved a bill to ban Iowa medical professionals from providing gender transition prescriptions or procedures to minors.

“These experimental procedures push vulnerable children down a one-way street that leads to permanent sterility and a lifetime of medical intervention,” Senator Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center, said.

Edler was the only bill backer to speak during last night’s debate. He said Republicans were surprised to learn these interventions were available in Iowa for minors. “Every child deserves a natural childhood, one that allows them to experience puberty and other natural changes that shape who they become,” Edler said.

Senate Democrats voted against the bill. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville said it would outlaw care that prevents suicides.  “I’ve been inundated with emails from parents of transgender kids who are really scared about what this law will do to their kid,” Wahls said.

Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, said this and other bills Republicans are advancing are motivated by fear of the unknown, “nostalgia for a time that never existed and a willingness to trade away other’s freedoms to preserve their own power.”

Also tonight, Republicans in the Senate voted to require that K-12 students use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. Senator Cherielynn Westrich, a Republican from Ottumwa, said the bill applies to locker rooms as well. “All kids deserve privacy rights and this bill ensures that,” Westrich said.

Senator Liz Bennett, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said the bill will make school scarier for a small group of kids. “It gives license to a new corps of potty police,” Bennett said. “Instead of minding their own business and just going to the bathroom, kids will use this to bully other kids.”

A similar bill is eligible for debate in the Iowa House.