South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law on May 16 guaranteeing that women’s sports from elementary school to college level will be reserved for women only. The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” also known by bill numbers R218 and H4608 passed the state House by a vote of 70-33 and the Senate by a vote of 30-10.

The law restricts males’ and females’ participation in interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural or club athletic teams in keeping with their biological sex. The law does contain exceptions for coed teams and an allowance for girls to participate on boys teams where a school does not offer a women’s team.

Approximately 16 states have passed such laws, including, most recently, Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah and Kentucky, the latter two by veto overrides. Additionally, Indiana’s legislature recently passed a similar bill which was vetoed by that state’s governor. That legislature will meet soon to consider voting on a veto override.

Courts have blocked such laws passed in Idaho and West Virginia.

Save Women’s Sports” bills resulted as a response to the rise of radical gender ideology which, when adopted by high school athletic associations and collegiate sports, forces women to compete against biological men who claim to be women.

In 2019, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference adopted a policy allowing biological males who claim a female identity to compete in high school girls athletic events. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) challenged the policy on behalf of some high school female track athletes who were losing to biological males.

In 2020, ADF represented several Idaho female athletes who sought to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

Although unsuccessful in Connecticut and Idaho, ADF’s efforts on behalf of female athletes began to raise awareness of the issue of unfair competition in sports from so-called transgender women, i.e., men who believe they are women.

Studies have shown that men, even those who have taken female hormones, still retain the physiological advantages that accrue to men who go through puberty. As a general rule, such men are faster, bigger and stronger than biological females. And the physiological differences between men and women are among the reasons why Congress passed Title IX in 1972 to guarantee girls and women equal opportunities in education – including their own sports.

Most recently, we’ve seen the results of indulging radical gender ideology in NCAA women’s swimming, where a biological male named Lia Thomas has gone from a relatively unheard-of male collegiate swimmer to an NCAA “women’s champion.” And no amount of testosterone suppressants and female hormones will balance out the natural advantages his male body gives him when competing against females in the pool.

ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Keifer released a statement supporting South Carolina’s new law.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Kiefer said. “We welcome South Carolina to the growing number of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for all females, whether in grade school or college. When the law ignores biological differences, it’s women and girls who bear the brunt of the harm. We’ve seen this in the increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships and shattering long-standing female track records.

“We commend the legislature and the governor for supporting this important legislation and ensuring that female athletes will not face those losses in South Carolina.”

Legislation such as South Carolina’s is necessary to return sanity and fairness to girls and women’s sports. Sexual identity confusion can and should be treated with compassionate counseling. However, taking opportunities away from women in the name of “treatment” for these men is both unfair and unhelpful.


Focus on the Family: Transgender Resources

‘Save Women’s Sports’ – On Your State’s Legislative Agenda?

Photo from Reuters.