DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills – SF 482 and SF 538 – that will impact children who believe they are transgender.
SF 482 is a bill that requires public K-12 schools to designate and allow the use of multiple occupancy restrooms and changing rooms for persons of the same biological sex only.
Students, staff, and visitors at a school are now prohibited from entering single or multiple-occupancy restrooms or changing rooms that do not correspond with their biological sex. In addition, the law provides that schools can arrange alternative facilities but only if the request to school officials comes from a student’s parent.
The law identifies “reasonable accommodations” that can be made, such as:
- Access to a single occupancy restroom.
- Access to a unisex single-occupancy restroom by only one student.
- Controlled use of faculty multiple occupancy restrooms or changing areas or single occupancy restrooms or changing rooms
The bill also states that it does not prohibit a school from adopting policies necessary to accommodate disabled persons or young children needing physical assistance. It also does not prohibit custodial staff from entering such facilities if a member of the opposite biological sex does not occupy them. Finally, it also does not prevent entry to render medical assistance or to take shelter during a natural disaster, emergency, or threat to student safety.
The new law also allows any citizen to file a complaint regarding a violation of the bill with the Attorney General of Iowa if that citizen provides a written notice to the school and the school does not remedy the perceived violation within three days of receiving the notice. The new law requires the Attorney General to investigate the claim and take legal action if necessary.
SF 538 prohibits minors from receiving “gender transitioning procedures.”
Reynolds told reporters on Tuesday that she likens this action to the state prohibiting minors from drinking alcohol, smoking, and getting tattoos.
“My heart goes out to them. 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. I don’t like it. But I have to do what I believe right now is in the best interest of the kids,” she said.
Reynolds said she didn’t believe there were enough long-term studies to support the procedures.
Under the new law, healthcare professionals are prohibited from performing or prescribing specific medical and surgical procedures on minors “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.”
Those procedures include:
- Prescribing puberty blockers for this purpose
- Prescribing testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone in an amount greater than would typically be produced by a healthy individual of that individual’s age and sex
- Performing surgeries that sterilize, including castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and penectomy.
- Performing surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual’s sex, including metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty.
- Removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.
The bill does not apply to treatment for minors with medically verifiable sex development disorders. It also allows the treatment of any infection, injury, disease, or disorder caused or exacerbated by the performance of gender transition procedures, whether or not the procedure was legal under state or federal law.
Also, the bill does not include any procedure undertaken because a minor suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that is certified by a physician, and that would place the minor in imminent danger of death or impairment of a major bodily function unless surgery is performed.
Healthcare professionals who violate the law are subject to licensee discipline by the appropriate licensing board or entity. The bill also provides that healthcare professionals could be subject to civil action.
Both laws will likely be challenged in court.