Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) recently signed a bill that will bar transgender girls and female athletes from competing in sports teams from Kindergarten to college. The controversial bill received approval from the state’s House and Senate, passing with a vote of 31 to 17.
The bill states that school-aged sports must be elected as women’s, co-ed, or men’s sports. Also, any athlete who wants to play female-only sports will be required to have “female” listed on their birth certificate.
Governor Reynolds stated, “This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa. No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology. Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.”
Senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Christiana Holcomb, was delighted that Iowa passed the legislation piece. “When the law ignores biological reality, female athletes lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete,” Holcomb said. “Comparably fit and trained males will always have physical advantages over females – that’s the reason we have girls’ sports.
Some critics feel the new law could be challenged in court, similar to other states like Florida and West Virginia. The new law will let students sue if they feel they’ve had “direct or indirect harm” if they think a school violated the law. If a student does sue, the Iowa AG’s office will represent schools and their employees in any lawsuits, and the state will pay legal costs.
In February, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed a bill that banned transgender athletes from competing in sports teams that match their proclaimed gender identity. Last June Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a similar bill, as did Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last October.
This new bill has the potential to threaten federal funding if a school is found to violate Title IX, a 1972 law that banned discrimination based on sex in schools and associated events, according to Des Moines Register.
Gov. Reynolds said in a recent tweet, “Protecting girls sports in Iowa! It’s a fairness issue! Today I signed HF2416 into law, which allows participation in sports based upon the biological sex listed on the athlete’s birth certificate.”
Critics in the LGBTQ community have shown outrage with the bill. Democrat Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls said Reynolds’ decision to sign the bill into law was “appalling.” Going on to say, “She is showing once again that she’s more interested in scoring political points than caring about the impact of legislation on some of the most marginalized kids in our society.”
The bill also referred to as House File 2416, takes effect immediately. Iowa is the eleventh state this year to put restrictions on athletes who are transgender and how they can compete.