Today Sen. Mark Costello introduced a cruel, dangerous amendment to HF 766, the Health and Human Services budget bill, now being considered by the Iowa Senate. It would exclude coverage for gender-affirming surgery for transgender Iowans on Medicaid. It would also block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money for sex education.
Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director, said, "The Costello amendment to the Health and Human Services budget bill is dangerous and harmful. It risks people’s health and lives to score political points.
"Banning Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery would bring significant harm to people who rely on Medicaid and who desperately need this surgery. This is a matter of life and death.
"This cruel amendment has no basis in medicine or science. Every major medical association agrees gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition and that surgical treatment is medically necessary for some transgender people. That includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Association of Social Workers, and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).
"It is a clear violation of equal protection under the Iowa Constitution because it would discriminate against people simply because they are transgender.
"The part of the amendment that blocks sex education funding from going to Planned Parenthood is also outrageous. Planned Parenthood is a leading source of science-based, unbiased, non-judgmental information about healthy relationships, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and other crucial topics. Cutting this funding would be extremely detrimental for our state and would likely reduce the progress that has been made in reducing the teenage pregnancy rate, among other positive gains in sex education."