On Thursday, the Kansas State Legislature passed a bill defining a woman as a ‘biological human female” in a historic and unprecedented move that sets the stage for greater protection for biological women across the state.
Senate Bill 180, also known as the ‘Women’s Bill of Rights,’ passed the Senate on a party-line vote of 26-10. The bill defines a biological woman as someone “whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova” while a male is defined as one whose reproductive system “is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”
The bill was spearheaded by Senator Renee Erickson, who told the Washington Times in an interview, “This bill does not create any new rights or entitlements. It simply codifies the definition of sex as biological male and female in existing statutes and laws,” adding that, “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.”
The bill will now head to the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. From there, it will go to the desk of Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. Kelly, who has already vetoed two bills barring biological males from competing in women’s sports, is expected to veto this bill. If the House can pass the bill with a veto-proof majority, however, it would automatically become law and not need to be signed by the governor.
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This bill has already received pushback from Senate Democrats and other organizations within the state of Kansas. “I think this is poor legislation, unnecessary, and does nothing to talk about women’s rights,” Democratic State Senator Pat Pettey said on the Senate floor. “As we heard in committee, it might be better if we were talking about the things that would help women’s rights, and that would be equity in pay, access to child care, and considering our human rights being balanced between men and women.”
In case you were concerned that #ksleg politicians had come up with this themselves, have no fear: this is part of a national push to put biologically essentialist language in statute so that legislators have basis to ban trans people from public spaces. https://t.co/J9DyiJ6ChR
— Kansas Senate Democrats (@kssenatedems) February 22, 2023
The American Civil Liberties Union stated that the bill is, “Essentially attempting to remove trans people from athletics, restrooms, locker rooms, domestic violence shelters, and other necessary spaces.”
On the opposing side, however, the Independent Women’s Forum released a poll in support of the bill that found that 80% of Kansas respondents, “think it is important that Kansas pass a law to define sex-based terms,” including “man,” “woman,” “female,” and “male,” and 86% of responders believe, “single-sex spaces should be preserved where safety or fairness require.”
According to The Daily Mail, the bill would lay the foundation for legislation that would prevent biological males from competing in women’s sports and using women’s bathrooms in locker rooms.
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