KEY VOTE: Co-sponsorship of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (S. 613 / H.R. 734)

KEY VOTE: Senate · Mar 1, 2023

Heritage Action supports the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and will include CO-SPONSORSHIP of this legislation on our scorecard.

The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (S. 613/ H.R.734.), introduced by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) and Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), would defend the aspirations and safety of female athletes by making it a federal crime under Title IX for anyone who receives federal funds and operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs to allow biological males to compete in athletic programs that are designated for women or girls.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational program that is federally funded, either directly or indirectly. This includes college athletics. However, the Biden administration’s Department of Education, led by the radical Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, proposed a new interpretation of Title IX to unilaterally expand the prohibition against discrimination based on “sex” to include: “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

Under Biden’s 2021 proposed rule, any man who self-identifies as a woman would be “protected” by Title IX, which completely guts the law’s intention of providing equal funding to educational opportunities for women. If “sex” is redefined to mean “gender identity,” then Title IX will be weaponized against women, surrendering opportunities reserved for women to men who choose to identify as women. After significant pushback, the Biden administration pulled the language from the final rule and announced they would issue a separate rule aimed to address men competing in women’s sports, which could be issued as soon as May 2023.

We are already seeing examples of how policies like this will destroy the dreams that female athletes have dedicated years of hard work and sacrifices to chasing. Last March, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s NCAA 500-yard freestyle championship. Thomas is a biological male who competed for three years on the men’s swim team as Will Thomas. Will was an average swimmer—ranked No. 462 in the nation—until he chose to identify as a woman, and deprived a woman of her place on the women’s swim team, a woman a place in the women’s locker room, and a woman a place on the women’s podium. Thomas’s victory came at the expense of second place finisher Emma Weyant of the University of Virginia. Weyant, whose years of hard work could never have overcome Thomas’s natural physical advantages, was forced to watch as a man celebrated the championship Weyant had no doubt been pursuing for most of her life.

As The Heritage Foundation’s Sarah Parshall Perry notes, under the Biden administration’s previously proposed interpretation of Title IX, Lia Thomas is just the beginning. The science is clear. According to a 2020 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, male athletes who are “transitioning” retain a competitive edge against women even after two years of taking estrogen. This means that prospective female student-athletes will not only be forced to compete with each other for an already extremely limited pool of scholarships and roster spots, but also with biological males who possess natural physical advantages, which will ultimately deny women opportunities to play collegiate sports., Senator Tuberville and Representative Steube’s legislation is needed now more than ever to prevent “woke” educational institutions from acting unilaterally to allow men to compete in women’s sports, while the Biden administration decides how a rule would be structured.

Women’s sports are about more than trophies. Anyone who has played competitive sports at any level knows that these women and girls will not just be missing out on the ability to play a game that they love, but also on the ability to learn skills like leadership, perseverance, and teamwork that will help them to succeed later in life. Data bears these advantages out, as one study shows that 94% of female executives once played competitive sports.

This issue is also about safety and privacy. Our daughters and our sons deserve safe and private facilities when using the locker room, restroom, or during overnight accommodations on team trips.

Without congressional action, college administrators will surrender our daughters’ opportunities to the Left-wing mob. Senator Tuberville and Representative Steube’s Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act is needed to block the Biden administration from implementing changes to Title IX and to prevent woke educational institutions from acting on their own to allow men to compete in women’s sports. This respects the realities of natural biology and gives women and girls fair opportunities to compete and win.

Heritage Action supports the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and will include CO-SPONSORSHIP of this legislation on our scorecard.