Court Rules Iowa Cannot Ban Books With Explicit Content

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that would prevent Iowa from enforcing its ban on pornographic books in classrooms.

The law, Senate File 496, focused on parental rights, gender ideology, and sexual orientation in the classroom.

According to Courthouse News Service, the judge said the book ban is “incredibly broad” and includes “books designed to help students avoid being victimized by sexual assault.”

“The law is incredibly broad and has resulted in the removal of hundreds of books from school libraries, including, among others, nonfiction history books, classic works of fiction, Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary novels, books that regularly appear on Advanced Placement exams, and even books designed to help students avoid being victimized by sexual assault,” U.S. District Judge Stephen Locher wrote. “The court has been unable to locate a single case upholding the constitutionality of a school library restriction even remotely similar.”

Lochur did not block the part of the law that required school districts to notify parents if their child asks to use different pronouns.

LGBT students are “already ‘out’ to their parents, families, and/or schools, and thus none of them are directly affected by this feature of the law,” Lochur added. “Instead, at most, they simply allege that the parental notification requirement contributes to the overall perception that the law targets the LGBTQ+ student community. This is not the type of concrete injury that confers standing.”

Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) issued a statement in response to the ruling.

“I’m extremely disappointed in today’s ruling. Instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation has no place in kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms. And there should be no question that books containing sexually explicit content — as clearly defined in Iowa law — do not belong in a school library for children,” she said.

“The fact that we’re even arguing these issues is ridiculous. The real debate should be about why society is so intent on over-sexualizing our young children. It’s wrong, and I will continue to do my part to protect their innocence.”