Transgender Iowans ‘kicked in the face’ by GOP Amendment Denying Surgery
Iowa’s Republican-controlled Legislature drove a knife into the heart of the heartlands gender non-binary people Friday. With a last-minute twist of the wrist, they slipped in an amendment overriding a recent State Supreme Court Ruling requiring Medicaid pay for transgender surgical procedures.
The Des Moines Register explains how Iowa became a leader in transgender care:
After years of dealing with denials and headaches regarding their health coverage, Carol Ann Beal, 43, of northwest Iowa, and EerieAnna Good, 29, of southwest Iowa, sued the Department of Human Services in 2017. They alleged that the state’s blanket ban denying their use of public funds for doctor-prescribed surgery singled them out solely because of their gender identity.
“I had been in a dark depression for about six months, but when I left Dr. Nisly’s office with that referral, it felt like she had taken my hand and pulled me out of this hole I had been living in,” Vasquez said. “Now, it’s like they shoved me back in and threw dirt over top of me. It just feels like I’ve been kicked in the face.”
The Iowa Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the “express ban on Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgical procedures” contradicted the gender-identity protections in The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965.
In that unanimous decision, the justices struck down the administrative code governing Medicaid in Iowa that classified transition-related surgeries as “cosmetic, reconstructive or plastic surgery” and explicitly banned “surgeries for the purpose of sex reassignment.”
Senator Zacharia Wahls put the amendment’s author Republican senator Mark Costello on full blast.
Iowa’s GOP is so obsessed with killing trans people the amendment would go into effect immediately after being signed by the Governor without the customary waiting period.
NEW SUBSECTION. 3. This section shall not require any state or local government unit or tax-supported district to provide for sex reassignment surgery or any other cosmetic, reconstructive, or plastic surgery procedure related to transsexualism, hermaphroditism, gender identity disorder, or body dysmorphic disorder.
Sec. 94. EFFECTIVE DATE. This division of this Act, being deemed of immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.
Transgender Iowians are calling on Gov. Kim Reynolds to reject the amendment pulling state funding for sex reassignment surgeries.
The provision’s wording is very similar to the language in the Iowa Code that the Supreme Court already found to be discriminatory, said Sharon Malheiro, a local lawyer and activist who filed an amicus brief in the case.
“This particular section just picks out one class of citizens to deny access to service for and I believe that violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” she said.