Legislative Announcement: Opposition to HF 2416 and SSB 3146

DATE: 20 February 2022


The Iowa Mental Health Counselor’s Association Response to Bill HF 2416 and SSB 3146


On behalf of the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association, we are writing to express concern about the Iowa legislation introduced (HF 2416 and SSB 3146) that bill that would require educational instructions that sponsor “interscholastic athletics, sports, or athletic events” to restrict and ban trans women and girls from participating in cis women sports from K-12 and college levels. IMHCA is highly concerned with this legislation and the implications it has on our transgender clients and the impact on a sense of belonging. As counselors, we are fully aware the long term effects discrimination, isolation, and low sense of belonging can have on one’s development and mental health over time.


IMHCA members and mental health counselors across the state, including members from the National Association of Social Work of Iowa and American Counseling Association of Iowa, actively serve transgender clients and our mission statement states that we lobby efforts that impact our counselors and their clients. This legislation is a violation of Title IX rights and perpetuates discrimination on vulnerable youth in our community. We also support and uplift the voices of organizations that have been consistently committed to advocating against this legislation, such as One Iowa and Iowa Safe Schools. 


As counselors, it is our ethical duty as counselors to engage in and advocate for non-discrimination and client welfare:

  1. AMHCA Code of Ethics, C. 2. Nondiscrimination A:
    1.  “CMHCs do not condone or engage in discrimination based on ability status, age, culture, sexuality, sex, gender identity, race, religion, national, origin, political beliefs, sexual orientation, relationship status, or socioeconomic orientation.”
  2. AMHCA Code of Ethics, F. 2 Advocate: 
    1. “CMHCs are encouraged to advocate at the individual, institutional, professional, and societal level to foster sociopolitcal welfare that advances client and community welfare”
  3. ACA Code of Ethics, A.7.a Advocacy
    1. “When appropriate, counselors advocate at the individual, group, institutional, and societal levels to address potential barriers and obstacles that inhibit access and/or growth and development of clients”


This legislation will be considered by the full House of Representatives, February 21st. Please email your legislators about these concerns. If you need assistance developing the language to send to your legislators, One Iowa Action has provided language on their website that can assist you further.



The Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) Board