Republican State Rep. Jeff Shipley offered an amendment to the Protect Women’s Sports Bill that would remove tort liability protections from public entities that violate women’s sports. His amendment would have addressed employees of educational institutions or educational institutions that offer courses, instruction or influence to students that would reasonably lead a student to be confused as to the student’s sex or the nature of sex.
Shipley called gender dysphoria a “mental illness” many times throughout his speech on the floor while acknowledging it is an emotionally charged topic.
Shipley said we have seen school districts confusing students and leading them to “mental illness” with trans-affirming curriculum, queer-affirming curriculum and concealing symptoms of gender dysphoria from their parents.
“All I’m asking for is that our public institutions do not encourage or condone mental illness,” he said.
Shipley said that while he appreciates the bill to protect women’s sports, he is concerned the bill is not getting to the root cause of the issue.
“Gender dysphoria is a recognized mental illness,” Shipley said.
Shipley said the reason his amendment is necessary is that if something happened in Iowa like what happened in Loudon County (Virginia), the school district would be held harmless due to qualified immunity.
Shipley said these schools are not deserving of legal protection if they are essentially encouraging mental illness.
“I don’t believe the state of Iowa should provide liability protections to any educational institution that affirms mental illness,” he said. “What other mental illnesses are treated with unquestioning affirmation?”
Shipley asked if individuals suffering from Schizophrenia are treated with affirmation. Or those with substance abuse with chemical addiction. Or a malignant sarcoma.
“No,” Shipley said. “Sarcoma is treated with aggressive therapies to remove or heal the cancerous growth.”
Shipley noted that those who suffer from mental illness would not be condemned or disparaged by his amendment and they should be included in society, but he said we should ensure we are not bending the world to conform with the mental illness of others.
Representative Skyler Wheeler, the floor manager of the Protect Women’s Sports Bill, said he understood where Shipley’s amendment was coming from but that it was best left for a different discussion on a different day and encouraged members to vote against it.
The amendment failed 3-90. Republican Representatives Sandy Salmon and Tom Jeneary joined Shipley in voting for the amendment.