California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' list over state's refusal to fund gender-transition surgeries with taxpayer money

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law that overturned a court ruling that mandated the use of public money for such procedures.

                            California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' list over state's refusal to fund gender-transition surgeries with taxpayer money
(Getty Images)

California had Iowa to its ever-growing 'travel ban' list. This means it will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to any of its public employees or students at state-run universities to the state.

The move, which will come into effect on October 4, comes because of Iowa's new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid, according to Fox News.

While Iowa's Supreme Court had ruled this past March that taxpayers may be made to shell out for gender reassignment surgery, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law that overturned that decision just two months later.

"This narrow provision simply clarifies that Iowa’s Civil Rights Act does not require taxpayer dollars to pay for sex reassignment and other similar surgeries," said Pat Garrett, Reynolds' spokesman, at the time. "This returns us to what had been the state’s position for years."

In a statement explaining the recent ban, California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, "The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care. California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it."

Iowa is the latest of many states to end up on the 'travel ban' list that was created in 2016 that also includes Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

The ban came into existence after then-California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill which "prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, genetic information, or disability under any state program or activity" and gave the state agencies the power to deny funds for any of its employees traveling to those states.

The law has been criticized by lawmakers from the states affected, who said it was an attempt by California to meddle in their affairs. "California’s attempt to influence public policy in our state is akin to Tennessee expressing its disapproval of California’s exorbitant taxes, spiraling budget deficits, runaway social welfare programs, and rampant illegal immigration," said a resolution approved by the Tennessee Legislature in 2017.

It's not just these states that are repealing protections to transgender people either. The Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people in health care at a federal level, ruling that "gender identity" is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.

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