The following statement is regarding Gov. Reynolds signing a bill today March 22, banning gender-affirming care for minors and a bill that forbids schools from allowing them to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. The following is a statement from ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer about these two new laws:

"It is simply wrong for Gov. Reynolds to sign these bills that will have devastating consequences for many children and their families across our state. 

"This is not the first time that a government has abused its power at the expense of a small group of people. But in this case the target is children. That is shameful and cruel.

"With gender-affirming care, it should be parents, doctors, and mental health professionals who make these decisions—not politicians trying to score political points by throwing transgender kids under the bus. 

"Parents of transgender children are doing their level best to keep their kids alive. These parents deserve every tool at their disposal to create a future for their children. That should include the option of gender-affirming care, which is endorsed by every major medical association. 

"Because of the toxic, unaccepting climate society has created for transgender people, suicide rates among transgender teens are terrifying. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that more than half of transgender male teens had attempted suicide and 30 percent of transgender female teens said they'd attempted suicide.1 Politicians pushing this bill said they think transgender teens might regret getting gender-affirming care when they're older. Studies don't support that.2 And it begs the point: If a transgender teen doesn't make it to adulthood, it won't matter.

"We are already hearing from families—who can afford it—who say they are making plans to move out of state or move their transgender teen out of state. 

"These parents know their kids deserve the chance to live well and be happy. But Gov. Reynolds has made these very kids and their families a target and has taken away their rights. She has decided to use the power of the state to hurt the very parents and kids who need our support. 

"Let’s be clear. A law that can take away the future from the most vulnerable kids is a deeply unjust law. Gov. Reynolds’ choice to sign this bill is an event from which too many Iowa children and families will not recover.

"The Governor also signed a bill that forbids students from using the school bathroom that aligns with their gender. It's a sad day for all kids that our state now has a law that does not recognize fundamental facts about transgender kids. It's a bill born out of a deep misunderstanding of what it means to be a student and transgender and out of ill-placed fears. 

"Unfortunately, politicians can pass laws that hurt kids and never look back, but it's transgender kids who have to live with increasing hostility against them from the government, including even monitoring where they go to the bathroom at school."