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Defending Girls' Rights to Fair Competition in the Hoosier State

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/John Bazemore

When Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed commonsense protections for girls' sports and equality, he suggested the state would face legal hurdles. He said lawsuits were already being drawn up to challenge the law. This is why he claimed he had to veto the protections for Hoosier girls.

As the chief legal officer for Indiana, I can tell you that this reasoning is BS.

As legislators reconvene this month to override the governor's veto, my office stands ready to uphold the law and defend any challenges. Hoosiers won't be bullied by woke groups threatening girls' sports. We won't kowtow to left-wing special interests and the Biden administration undermining equality in our state. We stand by the law and will vigorously defend it in court if and hopefully when the General Assembly overrides the veto.

The passage of HEA 1041 to ban males from competing on female sports teams is an important step in protecting youth sports and has been championed by my office. Athletics are a core part of our kids' development and growth. They provide a safe, beneficial outlet for children while also engraining a healthy competitive spirit in our future generation.  

By opening the floodgates for biological males to participate in female sports, we are not only discouraging young women and girls from joining a team in the first place, but we are also stripping them of scholarship opportunities, starting positions, and a chance to fairly compete.  

The world watched as biological male Lia Thomas, who previously competed in men's collegiate swimming as the 462nd ranked swimmer, won gold in the women's Ivy League Championships. Thomas took qualifying positions and podium spots away from female athletes who trained their whole lives to reach these competitions, only to compete on an unfair playing field.  

There are vast biological differences when it comes to women and men. Men have higher bone density, muscle mass, and cardiovascular capacity. This creates an unsafe and unfair atmosphere for young female athletes working to improve their athletic prowess. In 2018, over 270 high school boys crushed U.S. Olympian Allyson Felix's time in the 400-meter in track and field.

The many examples of biological male athletes dominating female sports across the country show we are failing our girls. This is why leadership is so desperately needed and I applaud the legislature's commitment to getting this bill across the finish line.  

Women have fought for equality for decades and to receive the same opportunities as men in sports — and yet, our country seems to have turned its back on these efforts. The pressure to cave is immense as woke corporations, Joe Biden, Hollywood, and cultural elites push their radical gender agenda. By caving and vetoing this bill, the governor made clear that appeasing these woke special interests means more to him than equal opportunity for Hoosier girls.  

I am proud to see legislators' commitment to this commonsense policy with their pledge to return to the Statehouse on May 24 to override this veto. Hoosiers can count on me to defend it once it becomes law.  

Indiana needs to join the nearly dozen other states that have similar laws to protect women and girls' right to compete on an equal playing field, and once we do, I will eagerly fight any lawsuit that comes our way.

Todd Rokita is Indiana’s attorney general.

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