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Tipsheet

EXCLUSIVE: RSC Chairman Jim Banks, Rep. Greg Steube File Discharge Petition to Protect Women's Sports

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

While Democrats celebrate Title IX, as they did last month for the 50th anniversary, their priorities show it has amounted to empty words. On Tuesday, however, Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN) and Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a discharge petition for Rep. Steube's bill, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2021This will give the Title IX protections some real teeth.

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The discharge petition would force Steube's bill to come to the House floor to be considered if 218 members were to sign onto it. If all 209 Republican members signed on, nine Democratic members would also need to sign on.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Steuebe on January 21, 2021, aims "To provide that for purposes of determining compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth."

Steube's bill would amend Section 901 of the Education Amendments of 1974 to add that "‘(d)(1) It shall be a violation of subsection (a) for a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls." It would also add that "(2) For purposes of this subsection, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth."

In a statement, Rep. Steube mentioned how this bill would truly help women and girls. 

"Allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports is anti-science and an affront to female athletes around the country. We have seen this practice prevent talented athletes from achieving their goals; stripping them of records, rosters, and scholarships. By refusing to allow a vote on protecting women’s sports, Speaker Pelosi is enabling Congress to evade this critical and timely issue facing students across the country," Rep. said Steube. "Tonight, Republicans filed a discharge petition to force my bill, The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act onto the House floor. Instead of paying lip service to women, I hope my colleagues across the aisle will actually do something for women and girls by signing onto this petition. As the left perpetuates a craze to eliminate gender, the American people deserve to know where their elected representatives stand on protecting women’s sports."

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Chairman Banks pointed out that "Congress passed Title IX 50 years ago, but the left is now scheming to effectively destroy that important civil rights protection. House Republicans must respond by strengthening protections for female athletes and by forcing Democrats to publicly state whether they support women’s right to compete on a level playing field. I’d like to thank Greg Steube, as well as Heritage Action, my fellow RSC members and the numerous groups supporting his important bill."

The RSC took an official position in support of the discharge position last week, as Mary Margaret Olohan reported for The Daily Wire. Several conservative, pro-women groups have thrown their support behind the discharge petition. Heritage Action for America is including co-sponsorship of the bill as a component in its scorecard, and Concerned Women for America LAC is including support for the discharge petition as a component in its scorecard. 

A diverse array of groups is supporting the the bill, united behind their desire to protect women's sports. One such group includes the Women's Liberation Front (WoLF). 

"Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) applauds the decision of the Republican Study Committee to endorse HR 426. WoLF is a non-partisan agency that represents women of every political affiliation; we believe that women and girls deserve to play in athletic competitions that are fair and safe. We are gravely concerned about the erosion of women’s rights in the United States, including the loss of women’s and girls’ sports," a statement read, with strong words following. 

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"Over the past few years, we have been witness to the gaslighting of our entire nation. Female athletes, along with their coaches, parents, and fans, have been coerced into participating in a mass delusion: the delusion that males can transform into females. Journalists and news agencies have encouraged and supported this gaslighting by using misleading and inaccurate language about male interference in women’s sports. The Biden administration has profoundly endangered women’s rights under Title IX by including 'gender identity' in its definition of sex. 'Gender identity' is nothing more than a personal belief system; this personal belief system is being actively promoted by our nation’s president, to the detriment of women and girls everywhere," the statement continued. "HR 426 demonstrates policymakers’ commitment to the protection of women’s sports. No woman or girl should be forced to compete against a male, regardless of how that male 'identifies.' The protection of women’s sports is a non-partisan issue; it affects women and girls throughout our country, in every state and in every neighborhood. We appreciate the leadership that the Republican Study Committee has demonstrated by endorsing HR 426."

The entire list of organizations supporting the bill include Advancing American Freedom, American Principles Project, CatholicVote, Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), Concerned Women for America LAC, Eagle Forum, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Family PAC Federal, Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council, ForAmerica, Heritage Action for America, Independent Women’s Forum, Women’s Declaration International USA, and Women’s Liberation Front.

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There is urgency in addition to relevancy behind this bill. In addition to the 50th anniversary of Title IX protections, biological males are competing in women's sports. As Townhall has extensively covered, William "Lia" Thomas is a biological male competing on the women's swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, winning several awards, thus taking that spot away from women. The university also reportedly ignored concerns of Thomas changing in the women's locker room. 

As American Principles Project (APP), one of the organizations in support of this bill highlighted earlier this month, 15 states have passed laws protecting women in sports, though Democratic governors and even some Republican governors regarded as RINOS, such as Indiana's Gov. Eric Holcomb and Utah's Gov. Spencer Cox

In March of last year, as I've previously reported, APP and WoLF commissioned a poll from Spry Strategies showing that 67 percent of registered voters nationwide disagreed with the statement that "Someone who was born male but identifies as a woman should be allowed to compete in girls’ or women’s athletics," which includes 54 percent who say they "strongly disagree."

Many organizations supporting the bill took aim at the Biden administration. Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America LAC, emphasized that the bill was "nonpartisan." She also called out how "What’s happening in women’s sports today under the NCAA and Biden Administration defies science and common sense and is an affront to every female athlete in America. This radical agenda to obliterate the enduring differences between the sexes is draconian and erases women’s inherent dignity and status under the law out."

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"While the current Administration has irresponsibly denied women this right, we applaud Congressman Steube for introducing legislation to rectify this situation and we encourage members to take action by cosponsoring the bill and signing the discharge petition," Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action said. 

The Biden administration has continuously spoken out against such bills that are passed at the state level. President Joe Biden himself has blasted these bills as part of "some of the ugliest, most un-American laws." He has also endorsed the Equality Act, which would affect women's sports. 

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