DES MOINES, Iowa — Republicans in the Iowa legislature have passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender kids
Senate File 538 bans all medical gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18. It passed along party lines in the Iowa Senate 33-16 on Tuesday.
The bill also passed in the Iowa House 57-39 on Wednesday.
Republican representatives shared how they see these procedures as unethical to perform on young children.
"We can not stand idly by and allow these procedures that may well make this situation even worse for these children," said Rep. Steven Holt (R-Denison). "We must protect our children."
However, representative Dr. Megan Srinivas (D-Des Moines) worries how these bills will impact young LGBTQ+ Iowans.
"As a physician, I see patients that have had to face these struggles every day," Srinivas said. "And I genuinely worry what it's going to do to my patients, both the ones who have already found a way to find a place in society, seeing that Iowa no longer wants to welcome people like them here."
The Family Leader, a conservative activist group, said in a Facebook post the Iowa House is protecting minors from life-altering surgeries and sterilization.
"Kids need compassion and real help, not mutilation," the statement read.
Local 5 also reached out to Protect My Innocence, another group in favor of the bill. They declined to comment.
The bill banning gender-affirming care now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk for approval.
Another bill, Senate File 482, would ban transgender kids from using bathrooms and changing rooms that align with their gender identity. The bill passed along party lines in the Iowa Senate 33-16.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Cherielynn Westrich (R-Ottuwma), said the bill is designed to protect the privacy rights of cisgender children.
Democrats, however, said the bill would inspire fear and violence.
"It gives license to a new core of potty police," said Sen. Liz Bennett (D-Cedar Rapids). "Instead of minding their own business and just going to the bathroom, kids will use this to bully other kids. Bills like this continue a line of efforts to use fear and violence to force people into gender roles assigned by society."
The bill now advances to the Iowa House.
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