Judge: Iowa Medicaid denial of sex change surgery unlawful

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has ruled that 2019 state law passed by Republicans prohibiting Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgeries for transgender residents violates the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

Judge William Kelly ordered the Iowa Department of Human Services to provide coverage for sex reassignment surgeries when ordered to treat gender dysphoria.

The ruling is a victory for Aiden Vasquez and Mika Covington, two Iowans represented by the ACLU of Iowa, who sought surgeries under their Medicaid plans but were denied. ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen says it’s an historic win for civil rights in Iowa.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says she disagrees with the district court’s ruling and is exploring all options moving forward.