You might hope a bill that simply defines “men” and “women” could easily garner support from both the political left and right. But you’d be dead wrong.

Protests erupted at the Iowa state capitol on Monday over the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” a bill (HF 2389) that would define “men” and “women” in law based on biology; it would also codify the definition of “sex” as “a person’s biological sex, either male or female, at birth.”

HF 2389 states:

A “female” is a person whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova and a “male” is a person whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.

The bill’s supporters – including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds – say the bill will protect women and women’s spaces from men who identify as women.

On Monday, the Iowa House Education Committee held an hour-long public hearing on the bill. Committee members from both parties listened to dozens of testimonies both in favor of and in opposition to HF 2389. The supporting and opposing sides traded turns; each person got two minutes to speak.

During the hearing, hundreds of LGBT activists shouted and held signs in the Capitol rotunda. Some held signs saying, “End trans genocide,” “Separate isn’t equal,” and “Let queer people exist in peace.”

Here is a brief clip of the protest at the Iowa capitol:

Rep. Skyler Wheeler chaired the hearing and made it clear that no amount of protesting would stop the hearing. “I will not allow the heckler’s veto to take place tonight,” he said, “We have to be able to hear people even if we disagree with them.” Rep. Wheeler had to pause the hearing several times as shouts from the Capitol rotunda could be heard in the hearing room. “You will not erase us,” the protesters chanted.

Denise Bubeck, who was the first person to testify on the bill, serves as the Deputy Director of The FAMiLY Leader’s Church Ambassador Network. The FAMiLY Leader is a Focus on the Family-allied state family policy council based in Iowa.

“We stand in support of HF 2389,” Bubeck said. “We are very thankful to have Governor Reynolds bring this bill forward. Iowa will join other states who are leading for women.”

She added:

It is legislation based on biological truth. Actually, none of us would be here today if it wasn’t for biology.

God created women and man. Period.

Conservative radio show commentator Steve Deace, host of The Steve Deace Show, spoke out in favor of the bill. “You will hear a lot of opinions here in the next hour,” he told committee members, “[But] in opposition to this bill, you will hear no facts. There are no facts in opposition to this.”

He added:

What we’re being asked to do is deny the most basic fact in human biology. … What we’re being asked to do is ignore reality, to redefine reality. …

There needs to be intimidation, and there needs to be shouting, and there can’t be facts, and there can’t be reason, and there can’t be science, because there is none to support the opposition to what you are doing. … We are all created either male or female. That’s it.

One of the most compelling testimonies in favor of HF 2389 was given by a young woman named Jordan.

“I have swam and played water polo competitively my entire life and I, like all other girls and women, deserve the right to feel safe in our locker rooms and restrooms and everywhere else,” Jordan said.

The rest of her remarks are worth quoting at length:

I’m speaking on behalf of all the girls and women who should be here, and would be here, but fear being labeled as transphobic or hateful or any of the other words going around.

Right now, if I were to share a concern about a man in my locker room or bathroom, I would be met with backlash.

That is what is happening to girls and women everywhere. … Many of us are being traumatized catching men staring at us while changing.

Enough is enough. I will not back down to the loud and hateful minority and urge everybody to speak out.

Women fought for years for equal rights, and I feel like all the hard work goes out the door when we allow men into women’s space.

This bill will protect girls and women across Iowa. My rights do not end where someone else’s feelings begin.

Please pass this bill. Thank you.

You can watch the entire hour-long hearing below:

In a press release on Feb. 1, Gov. Reynolds endorsed the legislation, saying, “Women and men are not identical; they possess unique biological differences. That’s not controversial, it’s common sense.”

“Just like we did with girls’ sports, this bill protects women’s spaces and rights afforded to us by Iowa law and the constitution,” the governor said, adding,

It’s unfortunate that defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women’s health, safety, and privacy are being threatened like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. The bill allows the law to recognize biological differences while forbidding unfair discrimination.

The House Education Committee previously approved HF 2389 on Feb. 6 in a 15-8 vote; it awaits consideration before the full Iowa House of Representatives.

The Daily Citizen will keep you updated as this legislation progresses.

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Addressing Gender Identity with Honesty and Compassion

The Journey Back to My True Identity

What is ‘Gender Identity’

Transgenderism and Minors: What Does the Research Really Show?

Do Not Fall for the ‘Affirm Them or They Will Die’ Lie

Iowa Lawmakers Advance ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ to Protect Women

Photo from Getty Images.