Reynolds signs bills on transgender care, bathroom use by transgender students

DES MOINES — Iowa doctors are now barred from starting gender transition treatments for minors. Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Wednesday that took effect immediately, making it illegal to start prescribing puberty blockers or perform gender transition surgery on anyone under the age of 18.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Reynolds told reporters she believes the science isn’t there to support gender transitions for kids. “These are irreversible,” Reynolds said. “…Unfortunately these kids don’t get a redo. It’s done.”

Minors who have already started gender transition care have 180 days to end their treatment in Iowa. Minnesota’s governor has issued an executive order indicating Iowa doctors could refer minors in the midst of treatment to Minnesota.

Reynolds has signed another bill that immediately requires transgender students in Iowa’s K-12 schools to use the bathroom or locker room that matches the gender on their birth certificate. Parents may ask a school to let their transgender child use a single-occupancy bathroom or facilities used by staff only.

Opponents say the bathroom policy will make transgender students less safe. Similar policies in states like Oklahoma and Alabama have been challenged in federal court. A group of Florida parents are suing to try to overturn that state’s ban on gender transition care for minors.