In a groundbreaking move, Kansas has become the first state to pass a bill that defines a “woman” as someone who is biologically born female, laying the groundwork for potential bans on males who identify as transgender women from using single-sex areas designated for females.
The Women’s Bill of Rights was approved by legislators in a 26-10 vote on Thursday, with only Republican support. The bill, spearheaded by Senator Renee Erickson, defines a female as someone “whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova,” while “male” refers to anyone whose reproductive system “is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”
“This bill does not create any new rights or entitlements,” Senator Erickson told the Washington Times. “It simply codifies the definition of sex as biological male and female in existing statutes and laws.”
“There are legitimate reasons to distinguish between the sexes with respect to prisons, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and other areas where safety and privacy are needed,” Erickson added.
The bill has already sparked a fierce backlash from Kansas Senate Democrats, who argue it is “equally offensive” to both transgender and “cisgender” women. The passing of this bill could lead to future laws banning male athletes who identify as transgender from girls and women’s K-12, club, and college sports, and may also prevent transgender people from changing their birth certificates and driver’s licenses after transitioning.
Senator Erickson insists that the bill is a “very factual” and “objective” move, simply codifying the definition of sex as biological male and female in existing statutes and laws. However, left-leaning politicians worldwide have struggled with defining what a “woman” is, with trans activists arguing that its definition should be inclusive of people who were born male, but later identify as female.
The Daily Wire documentary “What is a Woman?” explores the question of what defines a woman through interviews with various individuals, including politicians, medical professionals, a transgender opponent of medical transition for minors, and a transgender-affirming family therapist. The documentary also discusses transgender issues such as sex reassignment surgery, puberty blockers, transgender youth, and transgender athletes in women’s sports.
Riley Gaines, a former swimmer at the University of Kentucky, is among several public advocates who have called for increased protection of female athletes. Gaines has specifically spoken out against allowing transgender athletes to use women’s locker rooms. Gaines’ advocacy is partially based on her personal experience competing against Lia Thomas, a biological male who competed on the men’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania for three years before returning for one final year as a female swimmer and breaking records in the women’s pool.
While the move has been welcomed by women’s rights campaigners such as Jennifer C. Braceras, director of the Independent Women’s Law Center, it has also received heavy criticism. Kansas Senate Democrats condemned the bill on Twitter, claiming it will pave the way for legislators to ban transgender people from public spaces altogether.
Similar measures have been considered in Oklahoma, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, while legislators in South Carolina are considering a joint resolution that would amend the state constitution to define sex as biological sex at birth. Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, who has vetoed previous bills on biological sex definitions, is expected to veto the current bill. In the past, she vetoed a bill that sought to prohibit biological males from participating in women’s sports.