Five Iowa moms, all members of the conservative "Moms for Liberty" group, made their case to lawmakers Monday evening about their efforts to remove or limit inappropriate books in schools.

"This legislature needs to come together and find common ground on protecting children from obscenity," said Mandy Gilbert, a Johnston parent and secretary for the Polk County Moms for Liberty chapter.

The House Government Oversight Committee invited the women to speak about their attempts to appeal certain books to their local school boards.

Although the public was not invited to testify, the Capitol's largest conference room was packed with activists on either side of the issue — some nodding along during the speeches and others wearing shirts declaring their opposition to banning books.

On a large monitor at the front of the room, the speakers scrolled through images from graphic novels such as "Gender Queer" and "Fun Home," two memoirs about LGBTQ sexual awakening and coming of age. They also read aloud passages from books that discuss masturbation, sexual activity, incest or rape among minors.

"Would you read this out loud to your children and grandchildren? Why not?" asked Carroll resident Amy Dea, after reading an explicit passage from "Sold," a National Book Award finalist about a girl caught in sex trafficking. "Because it is not age appropriate. It is obscene and sexually explicit. No student should have access to this filth in our school."

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