Chief District Judge Arthur Gamble ruled Thursday that the state of Iowa cannot deny two transgender women Medicaid coverage for gender reassignment surgery, striking down a section of the state’s administrative code governing Medicaid that defines transition-related surgeries as “cosmetic, reconstructive or plastic surgery” and bans “surgeries for the purpose of sex reassignment.”
The two transgender women, Carol Ann Beal and Eerie Anna Good, filed a lawsuit last year after their gender reassignment surgical requests were denied by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS).
Gamble said the state’s denial of both women’s requests violated the state’s constitution and Iowa Civil Rights Act.
“This has been a long time coming,” Beal said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which was obtained by the Des Moines Register. “I’m so glad I can get the care I need, and I’m glad that other Iowans can now get the same care.”
The Hill added:
A spokesperson for the Iowa Attorney General Office, which represented the state’s case, said the office was “studying the ruling and consulting with DHS” before it made a decision on an appeal, but would not comment further on the matter.
DHS also would not provide comment to the Register.
The ruling comes a little over a month after a similar case in Wisconsin. Two transgender residents sued Wisconsin’s health department in late April, alleging discrimination because their desired gender reassignment surgery is not covered by the state’s Medicaid.