DES MOINES — Iowa’s governor is defending a law she signed that prohibits Medicaid payment for sex reassignment surgery after California’s attorney general prohibited state-funded travel to Iowa.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday added Iowa to a list of 10 other states for which state-funded travel isn’t allowed because they violate a 2017 California law that guards against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill in May that reversed an Iowa Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing protection under the Iowa Civil Rights Act for Medicaid-funded sex reassignment surgery.
Becerra says California takes an unambiguous stand against discrimination. He says the California prohibition begins in October.
Reynolds on Wednesday defended the law as a narrow provision clarifying long-standing state policy in response to the court ruling. A lawsuit challenging the new law is now before the Iowa Supreme Court.
After defending the law, Reynolds described California as a state with high taxes and expensive housing.
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