Keenan Crow

Dissecting the LGBTQ+ Erasure Bill’s Impact on Iowa Law

Taken from the testimony by Keenan Crow, Policy & Advocacy Director at One Iowa Action, presented on February 12th during the Public Hearing for the LGBTQ+ Erasure Bill. Watch the full Public Hearing here

There are a million things to say about this legislation but unfortunately, I cannot say a single one with absolute clarity because this bill is not written for Iowa. It is national legislation ported to Iowa without any regard to existing Iowa law. And what that means is, as previous speakers have mentioned, we are looking at a nearly innumerable number of unintended consequences. 

There may be those of you in this room or watching at home who think that this is a very simple bill, indeed we hear this from legislators over and over again. But I will warn you right now, the statutory construction section of the code is a very dangerous area of the code to mess around in. These are definitions that will apply and indeed override definitions in other statutes that already exist. The word “mother” is mentioned 325 times in Iowa code. Are you confident, have you gone through each of these statutes, to ensure you haven’t created any unintended consequences there? Because I’m not. What about adoptive mothers whose biological systems ultimately didn’t develop to produce ova because of a condition like PCOS? Do they no longer deserve the same legal protections and processes simply because they don’t meet your narrowly constructed definitions? Because that is ultimately what will happen. You will pass this and tell yourselves that it’s all very simple, and then Iowans will suffer for something that sounds good but ultimately doesn’t work.

The fact of the matter is this is not a simple bill. It is an incredibly complex bill and the way it shoehorns itself into Iowa Code makes it even more difficult to understand. It may make for good headlines and good postcards, but it doesn’t make for good law. So I will leave you with this: if this is a Woman’s Bill of Rights, why is the League of Women Voters registered against it? And if this is supposed to protect women in rape crisis and domestic violence shelters, why are the organizations who are the experts in this field registered against it as well? It’s because the bill doesn’t do anything it purports to do, and it certainly doesn’t protect women.