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Red State Bill Defining ‘Woman,’ Protecting Single-Sex Spaces Secures Support To Override Dem Gov Veto

The Kansas legislature secured bipartisan support Thursday to overrule the governor’s veto of a law that prevents men from entering women’s restrooms, locker rooms and other single-sex spaces by defining the term “sex” as biological sex at birth.

The House passed the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” or Senate Bill 180, in a 84-40 vote on Thursday after Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the bill last week. On Wednesday, the Senate also passed a motion to override the veto in a 28-12 vote.

Republican state House Speaker Dan Hawkins said in a statement that the vote shows House Republicans “stand with women and girls in Kansas and their right to privacy, safety, and dignity in single-sex spaces.”

“The activists who seek to change the definition of a woman ignore the biological differences that exist between the sexes and recklessly expose females to specific forms of violence, including sexual violence, therefore compromising the safety of female-only spaces such as restrooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and prisons,” Hawkins said. “House Republicans believe women and girls in Kansas deserve privacy, safety, and dignity in single-sex spaces and are dedicated to ensuring the current laws that have historically protected these rights can continue to do so.”

The bill defines the term “female” as “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova” and “male” as “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”

It defines the terms woman and girl as “human females,” while man and boy are defined as “human males.” The bill also specifies that the term “equal” does not mean “identical.”

Riley Gaines, Independent Women Forum spokeswoman and twelve time All-American swimmer, called the bill a “huge win for Kansas women.”

“I applaud the Legislature for their leadership and commitment to protecting the sex-based rights of women,” Gaines said in a statement. “As a woman and a female athlete, I can attest first hand to the importance of women having private spaces when safety and fairness are at risk. Now that the Women’s Bill of Rights will be Kansas law, women have clarity that when they enter a space labeled for ‘women’, biological men will not be inside.”

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law banning males from using women’s restrooms in schools late March, becoming the fourth state to pass similar legislation.

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