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February 1, 24

NEWS / Birth Certificate Battle Looms as Proposed Iowa Bill Seeks to Track Sex Reassignment on Licenses and Records

A potential clash over transgender rights is brewing in Iowa, with advocates bracing for a new bill drafted by Governor Kim Reynolds' office. While victory was recently claimed by LGBTQ rights groups after successfully blocking another restrictive proposal, this next battle revolves around personal documentation and privacy concerns.

The bill, not yet formally introduced, intends to prevent transgender Iowans who have undergone gender reassignment surgery from easily changing their sex designation on both their birth certificate and driver's license. Notably, the draft stipulates that the individual's sex at birth would remain listed alongside any updated sex designation, essentially creating a permanent record of the reassignment procedure. This information would also be documented on driver's licenses acquired post-surgery.

Governor Reynolds, through her spokesman Kollin Crompton, confirmed the intention to file the bill, framing it as necessary to protect "women's spaces and rights." Her statement, obtained by Iowa Capital Dispatch, emphasized the biological differences between sexes and asserted that the bill aims to safeguard spaces like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers.

"Defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women's health, safety, and privacy are being threatened," the statement reads. Reynolds further clarified that this measure "allows the law to recognize biological differences while forbidding unfair discrimination."

However, strong opposition has already emerged from LGBTQ rights groups and allies. Pete McRoberts, policy director for ACLU of Iowa, condemned the proposal as "horrifying" and a blatant violation of individual privacy. He highlighted the unnecessary exposure of deeply personal medical information on a driver's license, a document routinely presented in everyday situations.

"Under what regime should a person be required to disclose such deeply personal information to someone else?" McRoberts questioned, emphasizing the lack of justification for including confidential medical history on a document primarily used for identification purposes.

This proposed legislation differs from the recently defeated "bathroom bill" that dominated national headlines. While several conservative states have enacted these laws mandating the use of facilities based on assigned sex at birth, Iowa's current focus on driver's licenses and birth certificates appears unique.

Concerns further extend to the proposed birth certificate provision. McRoberts emphasized the detrimental impact it would have on the ability of transgender Iowans to be fully recognized and accepted by the state, essentially locking them into a perpetual state of "otherness."

The recent successful pushback against another discriminatory bill demonstrates the potential strength of opposition. However, this new proposal, backed by the governor's office, carries a different weight and could spark intense debate and legal challenges.



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