Disclosure: The ACLU of Iowa is representing Laura Belin and other plaintiffs in an open records lawsuit now pending in Polk County District Court. That case is unrelated to the litigation discussed here.
“We are celebrating today,” said the ACLU of Iowa’s legal director Rita Bettis Austen during a May 12 news conference to discuss the Iowa Supreme Court’s latest decision in a transgender rights case.
In Vasquez and Covington v. Iowa Department of Human Services, the court dismissed as moot the state’s appeal of a lower court ruling, which had found a 2019 law and related administrative rule to be unconstitutional. The result means the state cannot enforce a regulation barring Medicaid coverage for Iowans who need gender-affirming surgery.
Bettis Austen told reporters, “The importance of this truly cannot be overstated,” adding that “Transgender Iowans on Medicaid can continue to receive the coverage for life-saving gender-affirming care, that they desperately need.” Plaintiffs Aiden Vasquez and Mika Covington fought for nearly four years to obtain this outcome and can feel proud of making history for trans Iowans.
However, other aspects of the court’s unanimous decision, authored by Justice Thomas Waterman, raise questions about how Iowa’s high court may approach future challenges to state laws or policies designed to discriminate against transgender people.Continue Reading...