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ACLU sues to challenge Iowa denial of transgender surgery

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Aiden Vasquez, who sought surgery under Medicaid coverage and was denied by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa challenging a 2019 law that allows Medicaid to deny payment for sex reassignment surgeries for transgender residents. 

The lawsuit was filed in state court Thursday on behalf of Aiden Vasquez, who sought surgery under Medicaid coverage and was denied by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

ACLU lawyers say they will argue that denying the surgery to transgender Iowans violates equal protection rights guaranteed in the Iowa Constitution. 

They also will claim a 2019 change to state civil rights law saying governments in Iowa can deny paying for the surgery is unconstitutional and unenforceable because it intentionally discriminates against transgender Iowans.

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