Conservatives take a stand against effort to ‘abolish’ women’s sports
- In a statement regarding the ongoing legal battle over women’s sports in Idaho, ADF called the push to once again allow men to compete in women’s sports “ironic.”
- The legal advocacy group said that forcing female athletes to compete with men puts them at an absolute disadvantage.
- The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a statement of interest in the case.
With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, two female athletes at Idaho State University pushed to have a lawsuit dismissed that would allow biological males to compete in women’s’ sports.
A law had just been passed in Idaho mandating that no biological males are allowed to participate in biological females’ sports. After the law was passed, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state, saying that the law “illegally targets women and girls who are transgender and intersex and subjects all female athletes to the possibility of invasive genital and genetic screenings.”
Left-wing groups, including the Leadership Conference and the National Women’s Law Center, joined the ACLU in calling on the NCAA to cancel sporting events scheduled to take place in the state of Idaho. In a letter calling on the association to cancel the 2021 men’s basketball championship games, those groups claimed that Idaho’s law “violates NCAA values.”
When the ACLU then began pressuring the NCAA to move its '21 Men’s Basketball Tournament from Idaho to protest the law, the Alliance Defending Freedom called the effort to allow biological men to participate in female sports “ironic.”
“It’s profoundly ironic and deeply disappointing that a few female athletes—women who have clearly benefited from the athletic opportunities protected by Title IX—are now advocating to abolish female-only sports,” Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said.
“Comparably fit and trained male athletes will always have physical advantages over females; that’s the whole reason we have girls’ sports as a separate category,” Holcomb added. “If we ignore these clear biological differences, female athletes will lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete in the sports they love."
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement Friday defending the law.
The DoJ says that the Constitution’s “Equal Protection Clause does not require states to abandon their efforts to provide biological women with equal opportunity to compete” and enjoy co-curricular sports to satisfy “the team preferences of transgender athletes.” The statement underscored its view that “plaintiffs do not (and cannot) seriously maintain that every biological male has a constitutional right to participate on athletic teams limited to biological females.”
This effort has already garnered support from sympathetic college athletes, according to some sources.
Advocates of laws limiting membership on women’s teams to biological females argue that allowing biologically male persons to compete against biological women would place the latter at a disadvantage. One who feels particularly strongly about the issue is Idaho state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a primary sponsor of the original bill. Ehardt, herself an accomplished basketball player who spent 15 years coaching D1 women’s basketball at prominent universities including the University of California-Santa Barbara and Washington State, spoke with Campus Reform.
Ehardt said that Title IX changed her life, and helped her achieve incredible things in the world of women's’ athletics. However, she also feels that rather than promoting equality, allowing biological men to compete against women in college athletics puts them at a marked disadvantage. Echoing this, she remarked that “girls and women throughout the nation are losing opportunities and championships to boys and men.”
The legislator asserted that the problem is no longer theoretical, but a real one being faced by women athletes.
“This is no longer an anomaly that we can pretend doesn’t exist or isn’t hurting our opportunities to stand atop the podium as the victor. If we do not move to protect these opportunities, then sports will once again be dominated by biological male athletes. The progress that we, as women, have made over the last 50 years will be for naught and we will be forced to be specters in our own sports.”
Ehardt “welcomes and appreciates" the U.S. Department of Justice for its statement in favor of the Idaho legislation.
In response to questions about the ACLU’s attempt to get the NCAA to cancel championship games in Idaho, and the attempt’s growing momentum, Ehardt said she is “disappointed to see that some fellow female athletes don’t support and encourage the success of girls and women as they pursue their own dreams.”
She warned that if opponents of her law get their way, women’s collegiate sports could “lose almost 50 years of progress.”