On Wednesday afternoon/evening, the House debated several controversial bills. It was a lengthy evening with intense discussion on multiple bills.
I would like to highlight the following bills, which passed out of the House:
(Click the links to read full bills)
HF 348- No sexual orientation/gender identity instruction for grades K-6.
HF 623- Prohibits transgender surgeries and related procedures for minors .
HF 348 prohibits instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in school districts or charter schools in grades Kindergarten through 6th. Current Iowa Code Section 256.11 details what subject areas are to be taught in public and charter schools in Iowa. The current requirement is for "age-appropriate and research-based human growth and development" to be taught in grades K-6 in each school district. This bill adds a new code section (279.77) which states that a school district may not provide any program, curriculum, test, survey, questionnaire, promotion, or instruction relating to gender identity
or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through grade six. The bill does not eliminate the human growth and development instruction, only requires that instruction to be in compliance with the new section.
Opponents of the bill argue that it would "ban any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity" and will put the lives of kids at risk as it "censors public schools from providing information or talking about LGBTQ+ families." This is far from the truth! The bill simply addresses curriculum and classroom activities. It does not "ban" students from discussing topics related to gender identity on their own, nor does it ban students or teachers from speaking about their families who may happen to identify as LGBTQ.
Sensitive social issues such as these should be introduced and discussed by parents, not the school district or teachers. Parents have the right AND the responsibility to teach their children about such matters.
HF 623 makes it illegal to perform a sex-change surgery or administer cross-sex hormones to a minor in the state of Iowa. These surgeries and therapies, which are often referred to as "gender-affirming care" are definitively damaging and most often irreversible. They are not actual medical "care," but rather are dangerous, untested methods of mutilating a child's body in the name of caring for them.
Children, who our state considers too young to drive, vote, or consume alcohol, certainly cannot have the presence of mind to make such a life-altering and potentially dangerous decision. Gender-transition treatments have many potential side effects including castration or cardiovascular disease: children cannot give informed consent for these procedures.
God created our bodies and has assigned each person to a biological sex for a reason. This is non-negotiable! Sex-specific hormones play a vital part in the growth, development, and wellbeing of each person. When artificial cross-sex hormones are administered, it creates even more instability in that person's body, nervous system, mind, and emotions.
The argument we heard most frequently in the debate was, "if these children don't have access to transgender surgeries, they will commit suicide." This claim is simply false. There are many other options for children and teens facing the distress of gender dysphoria. If a teacher, parent, or other adult notices a child's mental distress, they should work with mental health counselor to help the child through that difficult time. The answer is not to chemically castrate that child or cut off their healthy body parts. This will only create further problems and distress for that child as they grow to adulthood.
We are doing children a grave disservice by telling them that the only way to be comfortable in their own body or be mentally stable is to completely change and harm their God-given body.
Children should be given time and wise counsel to make decisions with such high consequences. They should be heard and cared for, not convinced to medically alter their developing body through experimental treatments and drugs.