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Since 2020 it has been more frequently necessary for the Iowa Senate to legislate common sense. In 2021 it was legislation to prevent defunding the police and to give Iowa students the option to be in school full-time where most of them learn best. This year two bills have garnered a lot of attention, which should also be common sense. The first bill, SSB 1197, prohibits gender transition, or sex change, procedures on children under the age of 18. The second bill, SF 335, simply requires boys to use the boys’ bathroom and girls to use the girls’ bathroom in Iowa schools.

SSB 1197 is a common-sense piece of legislation to make it illegal to perform irreversible operations to change children’s biological sex. It also stops the use of life-altering drugs to delay maturation or begin a transition to the opposite sex on Iowans under the age of 18. Study after study demonstrate the profound risk and grave side-effects these drugs can have on children, including substantially higher risks of stroke, cancer, infertility, and more. Furthermore, state law prohibits minors from getting a tattoo, voting, buying cigarettes or alcohol, and other public health behaviors and activities. If they cannot get a tattoo, they should not be having life-altering surgeries or treatments.

A truly startling revelation occurred during the subcommittee meeting on this bill. One of the doctors who testified at the subcommittee was asked if these procedures are FDA approved. She responded, “We generally don’t do FDA clinical trials on children.” This response perfectly illustrates the need for this legislation: children should not be subjected to experiments. Iowa has a duty to uphold the public health, safety, and well-being of its citizens and that duty is done by prohibiting these procedures on minors.

Iowans know children change their interests often as they grow and begin to understand themselves and the world around them. An opinion or life direction they have at age 10 may not be the case at age 14 or especially at the age of 18. Guiding them to irreversible, life-altering therapies before they can vote or buy a beer is morally specious and the legislature is right to protect children in the same way they protect them from other public health hazards.

SF 335 is another simple bill. It just provides clarity for Iowa schools by requiring their students to use bathrooms according to their biological sex. It is a reasonable policy and something most schools implemented for decades without a written policy until recently. The reality of boys entering a girls’ bathroom or locker room creates real risk for Iowa girls. Many Iowans may have heard of an incident in a Virginia school where a girl was raped in the girls’ bathroom by a boy identifying as gender-fluid. While no policy can prevent sexual assaults in schools, it is reasonable to implement SF 335 to eliminate a scenario like this one from occurring in an Iowa school.

Girls in Iowa K-12 schools have enough to manage with schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, and navigating their maturation and social interactions. They should not be intimidated or fearful of using their locker or bathroom facilities at school.

Both bills advanced through the legislative process this week. They will be eligible for consideration by the full Senate next week.

Author: Brad Zaun


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