Sen. Jeff Edler (IA Legislature photo)

Republican lawmakers are proposing a ban on gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for transgender youth. Senator Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center, said if the state can make it illegal for minors to use tobacco or alcohol, it can ban “body altering” procedures.

“What they’re feeling today may not be the same that they’re feeling when they’re 18 or older and some of these procedures are non-reversible,” Edler said. “I mean, the damage that is being done. It is very new technology and techniques.”

Subcommittees in the Iowa House and Senate approved the same bill this afternoon. A woman who said her name was Angie testified at the subcommittee hearing in the Senate. “It is irresponsible to lead children down this path at such a young and vulnerable age,” the woman said.

Samantha Fett of Carlisle, a member of the conservative Moms for Liberty group, said the bill protects the children of today and future generations. “We need to allow children to grow normally because puberty is important to human development,” she said. “Pausing it has life-altering consequences forever.”

Doctors and parents pushed back on the idea children are being manipulated. Karen Butler of Iowa City told lawmakers her child is non-binary and the family spent years meeting with specialists and mental health professionals.

“What makes you think you are in a better position than I to make decisions about my child?” Butler asked lawmakers. “…I want you to understand the gender affirming surgery my child received was medically necessary, potentially life saving care.”

Dr. Kaaren Olesen, an OB/GYN at Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines, cares for LGBTQ youth. “We are not going about willy nilly just doing surgeries on young children,” she said. “There are processes and procedures to follow.”

Aime Wichtendahl, a member of the Hiawatha City Council, told lawmakers she knew at the age of nine, when she was a student at a Christian school, that she was trans.

“Being trans is a condition of the human race,” she said. “You can’t erase us, no matter books you ban…no matter how many rules and regulations you put in front of us.”

South Dakota lawmakers recently passed a ban on gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for minors. Similar legislation has been proposed this year in 26 other states, including Iowa.

Radio Iowa