- by cnn
- 28 Sep 2023
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a sweeping bill into law Friday that will restrict education about gender identity and sexual orientation and ban books with certain sexual content from school libraries, as well as require schools to notify parents if their child asks to use a new name or pronoun.
Iowa is just one of several Republican-led states to pass laws strengthening what advocates often describe as "parental rights" over the past few years.
The controversial movement, which critics argue is aimed at limiting the rights of LGBTQ and other marginalized students, emerged as a top issue for the national Republican Party during the Covid-19 pandemic and is expected to play a key role during the 2024 election cycle.
The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization, likened Iowa's parental rights law to legislation enacted in Florida last year that opponents dubbed "Don't Say Gay." The Florida law banned certain instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom and set off a social and political firestorm.
Iowa state Sen. Ken Rozenboom, chair of the education committee, has said that the parental rights bill "matches up with what most schools are doing now."
"But we need to rein in those schools that believe that 'the purpose of public education is to teach [students] what society needs them to know.' We must put parents back in charge of their children's education," he wrote in his newsletter in March.
Iowa has passed several new laws this year addressing parents' rights. In March, Reynolds signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for minors, as well as a law that makes it easier for families to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private K-12 schools regardless of their income.
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