The education bill (Senate File 496) Governor Kim Reynolds (R) signed in late May keeps books with pornographic material — written and/or visual depictions of sex acts — out of school libraries.
Left-leaning and LGBTQ+ groups have since accused her of "book banning," but Drew Zahn, director of communications for The Family Leader, says that is misleading.
"We're not talking about banning books from the public marketplace or from sale or from bookstores; what we're talking about is what do taxpayers pay to put into school libraries to give to children," he explains.
"If you're a parent, and you think it's important … for your child to have access to that, then OK, go buy the book," Gov. Reynolds said at a news conference late last month. "We didn't ban them."
One of the books declared to be inappropriate for schools in Iowa was "All Boys Aren't Blue." Gov. Reynolds has reminded the media that when she previously read them an excerpt from that book, they "couldn't even show that portion of the interview … on TV, but yet somebody believes our kids should be subjected to that."
"I think anyone with a degree of common sense and decency would know we should not be using taxpayer dollars to give pornography to children," Zahn adds.
The liberal PEN America falsely claims that more than 2,500 books were removed from schools in the 2021-2022 school year alone, including classics like Anne Frank's diary, "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "The Color Purple." Researchers with The Heritage Foundation, however, have found copies of those titles listed as available in the online catalogues of every school district PEN America names.
The pushback to SF 496, Zahn says, is coming from "pockets of … more progressive or left-leaning political groups as well as individuals who simply don't yet really understand the issue," or at least he hopes that is the case.