The Health and Human Services Budget amendment was released today and includes language that would ban Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from accessing all sexual education funds. It would also allow tax-funded discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Iowans who are seeking “sex reassignment surgery or any other cosmetic, reconstructive, or plastic surgery procedure related to transsexualism, hermaphroditism, gender identity disorder, or body dysmorphic disorder.” Click here to review the HHS Budget Amendment S-3201 to House File 766 in full.
Beth Barnhill, Executive Director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, released the following statement today in response:
It’s egregious that some lawmakers in Iowa not only want to attack the comprehensive sex education provided by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, but also Iowa’s transgender and gender non-conforming community. These elected officials’ misinformed attempt to undermine Iowa’s legislative process by sneaking this language into the budget bill at the last minute is harmful, shameful, and inappropriate.
Research from the CDC supports the idea that comprehensive sexual health education is critical to the prevention of sexual violence. If Planned Parenthood is no longer able to provide comprehensive sexual health education to these communities, it will have a profoundly negative impact. There is no other organization working in Iowa right now that is as qualified as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to fill these essential gaps.
According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 28 percent of transgender individuals reported being harassed in medical settings, and 1 in 10 reported that they had been sexually assaulted in at least one health care setting. This amendment in Iowa’s budget bill tells thousands of Iowans who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming that their healthcare needs are unimportant and second-class. This is unacceptable, especially when the Iowa Civil Rights Act outlines explicit protections for LGBT Iowans against discrimination, and has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.
We urge Iowa legislators to emphatically reject this amendment. We must ensure that the needs of all Iowans will be met in further budget discussions.