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When an incoming Supreme Court justice can’t even say what a woman is, members of Congress are wise to define “woman” by statute so courts can’t pretend to be confused.
Led by U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), a group of Republican House and Senate members on Thursday introduced in their respective chambers a bill codifying something called the “women’s bill of rights,” not to be confused with various “women’s issues” nostrums long favored by leftist feminists. The bill would define biological sex as a distinct legal category, adopting the common public understanding (and biological-anatomical reality) of the words “woman,” “girl,” and “mother” and recognizing a child’s biological sex, male or female, at birth.
This bill is much more than mere symbolism. As the bill itself notes, “There are important reasons to distinguish between the sexes with respect to athletics, prisons, domestic violence shelters, restrooms, and other areas, particularly where biology, safety, and privacy are implicated.”
In a passage that sounds like so much legalese but could carry important constitutional weight, the bill says that “policies and laws that distinguish between the sexes are subject to intermediate constitutional scrutiny ” rather than a “strict scrutiny” standard that would banish most such laws to the dustbin. What this means is that women could not be discriminated against in terms of citizenship status or workplace rights (among many other areas of life), but that laws recognizing and protecting women’s physical differences from men can’t be jettisoned by “woke” judges trying to impose gender-fluid theories on unwilling women.
If, as the proposal rightly says, “only females may get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed children,” then females should not be forced by government to share domestic violence shelters or intimate quarters with biological men.
Even a few short years ago, insisting that only biological women be recognized by law as women would have amounted to a commonsense tautology — an unnecessary restatement of an identical concept. Now, though, we literally see women prisoners being impregnated by biological men housed at the men’s “preference” in state women’s correctional facilities, and we see activists testify to Congress, with support from growing numbers of Democrats there, that laws should recognize that “ men can become pregnant and have abortions.”
In a reasonable world, such possibilities would be dismissed as satire or farce, as a sort of Mrs. Doubtfire scenario on steroids. Now, though, they have become elements of near-cultish gospel on the Left, and as serious policy, they can lead only to tragedy.
At stake are not just female athletes who repeatedly lose out to “transgender” people posing as women — although that is bad enough. And it’s not always about extremes such as girls who don’t want people with male genitalia walking nude in their locker rooms, much less sexually assaulting them . At stake also are a host of less dramatic but still important considerations.
“We can’t fight sex discrimination if we can’t agree on what it means to be a woman,” said Jennifer Braderas, director of the Independent Women’s Law Center. “And we can’t collect accurate data regarding public health, medicine, education, crime, and the economic status of women if we redefine sex to mean ‘gender identity.’”
In all these ways and more, society cannot afford to have the law or bad judges feign confusion about what a woman is. For all these reasons, Congress ought to move quickly to pass the bill establishing this Women’s Bill of Rights.
To paraphrase Flannery O’Connor and a TV slogan, the wife you save may be your own.
Reporting from The Washington Examiner.