California Adds Iowa to Travel Ban List for Not Funding Gender Transitions

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra discusses the lawsuit his office has filed against Purdue Pharma for its painkiller Oxycontin, during a news conference, Monday, June 3, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. The suit, filed against Purdue and its former president, Dr. Richard Sackler, alleges it falsely promoted the drug as not …
Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

California has added Iowa to its travel ban list because of the state’s refusal to fund gender transition surgeries through Medicaid.

“The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university,” a Fox News report said.

Iowa joins a cluster of other banned states, which include Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

Reports said Alabama was placed on the list due to its law allowing adoption agencies with faith-based policies the option to not place children with gay couples.

In a press release Friday, Becerra said, “Recognizing that discrimination has no place in our society, the California Department of Justice is committed to protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQIA community.”

The press release continued:

In 1978, the California First District Court of Appeal found that gender-affirming treatment is medically reasonable and necessary and held that transsexual surgery is not cosmetic as defined under Medi-Cal regulations. Further, California law prohibits insurers from denying coverage for gender transition care if similar services are otherwise available to their other members, including, but not limited to, hormone therapy, hysterectomy, mastectomy, and vocal training.

Reports said that almost 12 years ago, Iowa’s legislature deemed gender identity a protected characteristic under the state’s Civil Rights Act. In March, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the protection also covered gender transition surgeries under its Medicaid program.

However, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill in May that would prohibit Medicaid from funding the surgeries.

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare,” Becerra said Friday.

“California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it,” he said. “That’s why my office is adding Iowa to the list of states subject to state-funded or sponsored travel restrictions.”


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