Today, HRC reacted to news that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed into law the state’s Health and Human Services Department funding bill, which contains a discriminatory, anti-transgender provision that allows legislators to refuse state funding for critically important, often life-saving transition-related care for transgender Iowans.
“It’s deeply disappointing that Gov. Kim Reynolds is caving to the pressure from some radical lawmakers in the Iowa Senate, instead of protecting the rights and dignity of transgender Iowans,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “Gov. Reynolds had the option to line-item veto this provision and leave the rest of the funding bill intact, but she did not. This sends a strong message that she is not working for all of her constituents and a craven desire to please Iowa’s most extreme lawmakers. As a native Iowan, Iowa deserves better — and different — leaders.”
The discriminatory provisions were amended into the HHS budget without warning last Friday and in such a way that the House didn't get to vote on whether to amend the language back out of the bill. These procedural maneuvers by Senate Republicans were a deliberate and brazen attempt to quietly rollback the rights of transgender Iowans. In March, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Iowa’s Civil Rights Act protects transgender Iowans from discrimination based on gender identity, including in the provision of services via Medicaid. This legislation directly attempts to undermine that ruling.
In other states’ studies of the impact of providing transition-related care to transgender citizens under state programs, this type of care was shown to be cost-effective. 17 states and the District of Columbia offer these services as part of their Medicaid coverage and have not reported significant cost burdens.