Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed bills on March 30th banning biological men from participating in girl’s sports, making gender reassignment surgeries illegal for minors, and prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks.
Ducey said the laws will promote “fairness” in girl’s sports and protect children from being put through irreversible gender surgeries. He also stated that the 15-week abortion prohibition would uphold the state’s responsibility to defend “every life—including pre-born life.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The move comes after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’s controversial NCAA championship win—a signal event in women’s sports history. The decision to let Thomas compete has been harshly criticized and in some cases prompted responses from Republican governors. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) in an official state declaration last week recognized Sarasota native Emma Weyant, not Thomas, as the winner of the NCAA women’s 500-yard freestyle. Thomas competed as a male until this season and placed in multiple men’s events at the 2019 Ivy League Championships.
Transgender athletes can retain advantages over their competitors. A 2020 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who transition into women remain both stronger and faster than their peers after one year of hormone therapy. Thomas started therapy in 2019 but still has male body parts.
A majority of Americans believe that athletes should only be allowed to compete on teams that correspond with their birth gender, according to a Gallup poll from May of 2021.
Studies have also concluded that more than two-thirds of children cease to express the desire to transition genders once they are fully grown.
“This legislation is common-sense and narrowly targeted to address these two specific issues—while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society,” Ducey said in a statement regarding the bill promoting sex-specific sports.
Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Republican who supported the legislation, said that it has created a level playing field for female athletes.
“This bill to me is all about biology,” Bolick said in a statement to a local NBC News affiliate. “In my opinion, it’s unfair to allow biological males to compete with biological girls sports.”
Ducey is now the 14th governor to sign legislation to prevent biologically male transgender athletes from participating in girl’s sports. He is also the first to sign a 15-week abortion ban into law, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The 15-week abortion prohibition in Arizona will apply to physicians, and unlike the legislation signed in May 2021 by Texas governor Greg Abbott, citizens may not sue abortion providers.