|House Judiciary Committee Moves Forward Bill to Protect Children
In light of the Oversight Committee meeting last month, the Judiciary Committee submitted House Study Bill 214 to prohibit the use of hormone therapy and puberty blockers while also ending irreversible genital surgeries on children (minors under the age of 18) in our state.
Even in politically ‘progressive’ Europe, several countries are hitting the brakes on medicalizing gender incongruence in children. Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom are no longer allowing so-called gender affirming care on minors and Ireland and Italy are moving in that direction as well.
Puberty blockers do have FDA approved uses for children facing puberty at too young of an age. However, doctors are now prescribing puberty blockers off label to stop children from developing at a normal rate and allowing their bodies to stay prepubescent for an undetermined amount of time so they can decide if they want gender altering medicines or surgery. Long term side effects of using puberty blockers can include weight gain, hot flashes, headaches, fertility issues, weaker bones, and other growth and development issues.
Along with puberty blockers, other drugs are being prescribed to boys and girls that will cause them to have significant physical and physiological changes. HSB 214 also bans these hormone therapies from being given to children in order to alter their looks and bodies. Multiple medical facilities in Iowa are currently providing boys with the female hormone estrogen. Girls are also being prescribed testosterone to make them look more like boys. Hormone therapies are sometimes considered partially reversable drugs for individuals who identify as transgender, but they are still high risk, especially for kids.
The University of Iowa LGBTQ+ clinic has performed a small number of mastectomies on young girls to change the look of their body and not for other medical reasons. While no place in Iowa is currently conducting bottom surgery for children who believe they are transgendered, this type of surgery will also be banned for those under 18.
It is important to remember this bill does not stop the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or surgery for children with medical conditions that absolutely require it.