Kansas recently became the first state to pass a bill that defines a woman as someone who is biologically born a female. This bill sets legal standards that could be used to protect areas designed for single-sex use, such as restrooms and locker rooms.
State legislators passed the groundbreaking bill in a 26-10 vote last week, only with the support of Republicans. Renee Erickson, a Republican senator, led the effort to pass the bill. She told the Washington Times, “What this does is simply codify in the law the definition of sex. It simply says that in existing statute or law, where there is a definition of sex, it means biological male and female as determined at birth. That’s very factual, it’s very objective.” The Washington Times reported:
Under the bill, a person’s biological sex is determined at birth. “Female” is defined as someone “whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova,” and “male” refers to those “whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”
Similar measures have been introduced this year in Oklahoma, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. In South Carolina, the legislature is considering a joint resolution that would amend the state constitution to define sex as biological sex at birth.
Text from the bill reads:
AN ACT establishing the women’s bill of rights; providing a meaning of biological sex for purposes of statutory construction. WHEREAS, Male and female individuals possess unique and immutable biological differences that manifest prior to birth and increase as such individuals age and experience puberty; and WHEREAS, Biological differences between the sexes mean that only female individuals are able to become pregnant, give birth and breastfeed children;
…WHEREAS, Biological differences between the sexes are enduring and may, in some circumstances, warrant the creation of separate social, educational, athletics or other spaces in order to ensure safety and to allow members of each sex to succeed and thrive; and WHEREAS, Inconsistencies in court rulings and policy initiatives with respect to the definitions of “sex,” “male,” “female,” “man” and “woman” have led to the endangerment of single-sex spaces and resources thereby necessitating the clarification of certain terms.
…Laws and rules and regulations that distinguish between the sexes are subject to intermediate constitutional scrutiny. Intermediate constitutional scrutiny forbids unfair discrimination against similarly situated male and female individuals but allows the law to distinguish between the sexes where such distinctions are substantially related to important governmental objectives. Notwithstanding any provision of state law to the contrary, distinctions between the sexes with respect to athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, locker rooms, restrooms and other areas where biology, safety or privacy are implicated that result in separate accommodations are substantially related to the important governmental objectives of protecting the health, safety and privacy of individuals in such circumstances.
The bill faced significant backlash from Kansas Senate Democrats, who called the legal initiative offensive to the transgender community. Despite this criticism, the bill is a win in the fight for conservatives to define what a woman is.
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