Kansas will no longer allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate after Republicans passed a law enshrining the biological definition of woman into law.
The state’s health department was compelled to follow the law after Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach sued to stop state agencies from allowing people who say they are transgender to be able to change the gender on public documents.
After a legal back and forth, Kobach won in court, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said on Friday that it could “no longer process gender identity amendments to birth certificates.”
The health department said that birth certificates previously given out with changed gender would not need to be updated unless the individual needed to get a new one.
“If KDHE previously changed your birth certificate to align with your gender identity, that birth certificate is still valid; however, if a certified copy of that record is requested, then the new copy must reflect the sex assigned at birth,” the department said.
Kobach said that he was “pleased” with the decision and that it was necessary to comply with Kansas law.
“The intent of [the Kansas legislature] was clear when lawmakers passed the Women’s Bill of Rights. KS birth certificates are state records that must reflect scientific fact as recorded by the doctor at the time of birth,” Kobach posted on X.
Kobach was referring to a state law passed earlier this year — called the Women’s Bill of Rights — that defines men and women on the basis of their “biological reproductive system.”
According to the law, a “female” is “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova” and a “mother” is” a parent of the female sex.” The law also stipulates that “woman” and “girl” refer to biological females.
The law says that state entities that collect “vital statistics for the purpose of complying with anti-discrimination laws or for the purpose of gathering accurate public health, crime, economic or other data shall identify each person who is part of the collected data set as either male or female at birth.”
Democrat Governor Laura Kelly vetoed the bill, saying it “stripp[ed] away rights” and would “hurt our ability to continue … landing new business deals.” The Republican-controlled legislature overrode her veto, with the law going into effect July 1.
Kelly said in a statement on Friday that she disagreed with the policy but would allow the law to be enforced.
“As I’ve said before, the state should not discriminate or encroach into Kansans’ personal lives,” Kelly said in a statement. “However, I am committed to following the law. Agencies will comply with the courts’ orders and work to implement S.B. 180 as appropriate.”