47 Pro-Family Leaders Urge S.D. Gov. Noem to Support Legislation That Protects Girls' Sports from Transgenders

Michael W. Chapman | March 29, 2021 | 10:43am EDT
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S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem (R).  (Getty Images)
S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem (R). (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- Since South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) vetoed a bill to protect girls' sports from transgender "females" (biological males), 47 pro-family, conservative organizations have called on the governor to join their coalition to protect female athletes by supporting legislation that explicitly prohibits males from playing on female sports teams, in all grades and at the university level. 

"You recently announced your intent to form a 'coalition to defend Title IX' in conjunction with your surprising decision to use a 'style-and-form veto' on HB 1217, a bill that would ensure South Dakotan K12 and collegiate female athletes have a level playing field in their sports and that they have recourse against unfair policies that force them to compete against biological males," reads the letter to Gov. Noem, which was released today.

Real women playing women's basketball.  (Getty Images)
Real women playing women's basketball. (Getty Images)

"We are already part of a large coalition defending female athletes across the country, and we are inviting you to join with us by supporting legislation that protects all women -- kindergarten to college -- and provides them with a legal remedy when their rights are violated, as HB 1217 does," states the letter.

HB 1217, the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, is the bill that Gov. Noem vetoed on Mar. 19, despite tweeting on Mar. 8 that she was "excited to sign this bill very soon." Noem reportedly vetoed the bill because of pressure from the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota Board of Regents, and multi-national corporations such as Amazon. 

Transgender "female" (biological male) athletes Andrea Yearwood and Terry Miller.  (Screenshot)
Transgender "female" (biological male) athletes Andrea Yearwood and Terry Miller. (Screenshot)

HB 1217 would have required the public schools and colleges to designate sports teams as either male or female and based upon the player's biological sex. Every year, the players would have to provide documentation verifying their age, their biological sex, and affirm that they were not taking performance enhancing drugs. 

The legislation also would allow a player, team, school, college, or athletic association to take legal action if they experienced discrimination for not allowing transgender "females" to play on their women's teams. 

Currently, Idaho, Mississippi, and Arkansas have laws in place nearly identical to HB 1217.

Real girls playing lacrosse at the high school level.  (Getty Images)
Real girls playing lacrosse at the high school level. (Getty Images)

"The South Dakota legislature got it right with HB 1217, and your original excitement to sign it was on the mark," reads the letter to Noem.  "They passed a strong bill that stands with your state’s female athletes, no matter their level of competition, and provides them a legal remedy when their rights are violated. We stand behind these legislators and South Dakota’s female athletes."

"Gutting the bill doesn’t help anyone win—it sends South Dakota and their girls and women back to the sidelines and sends the wrong signal to others across the country in the fight to save girls’ and women’s sports," states the letter.  "HB 1217 as passed protects all female athletes in South Dakota, not just those in high school or middle school."

"Your [vetoed and revised] version of the bill would hand South Dakota’s collegiate female athletes -- and a say in your state’s governance -- to the NCAA on a silver platter," said the pro-family groups.  "Why should collegiate females face injustice for achieving the honor of college-level competition?"

Transgender athletes, some of whom have had their bodies altered by surgery to appear to be more feminine or more masculine. (Screenshot)
Transgender athletes, some of whom have had their bodies altered by surgery to appear to be more feminine or more masculine. (Screenshot)

"[O]our coalition stands unapologetically behind these girls and women and won’t back down to pressure from the NCAA," reads the letter.  "The NCAA itself doesn’t require its member schools to allow biological males who identify as female on female teams. But even if it did have such a policy, we’d still rather stand proudly with female athletes than those who stand to profit off of them."

"So, we invite you, Governor Noem, to join our coalition on behalf of South Dakota’s—and the nation’s— female athletes who are counting on you to support legislation like HB 1217 as passed by the legislature," concludes the letter. 

The letter-signers are listed below. 

Norman Woods, Executive Directo,r Family Heritage Alliance (South Dakota)

Kristen Waggoner, General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

Terry Schilling, President, American Principles Project

Penny Young Nance, CEO and President Concerned Women for America

Anne Schlafly Cori, Chairman, Eagle Forum

Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council

Beth Stelzer, Founder Save Women’s Sports

Caleb Crosby, President & CEO Alabama Policy Institute

Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

Debbie Chaves, Executive Director, Colorado Family Action

Nicole Theis, President Delaware Family Policy Council

John Stemberger, President & General Counsel, Florida Family Policy Council

Ryan McCann, Executive Director, Indiana Family Institute

Brittany Jones, Esq., Director of Advocacy Family Policy Alliance of Kansas

Gene Mills, President Louisiana Family Forum

Andrew Beckwith, President, Massachusetts Family Institute

Linda Schauer, State Director, Concerned Women for America of South Dakota

Michelle Cretella, M.D., Executive Director, American College of Pediatricians

Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Ethics) Senior VP Bioethics and Public Policy Christian Medical & Dental Associations

Craig DeRoche, CEO and President Family Policy Alliance

Jessica Anderson, Executive Director, Heritage Action for America

Natasha Chart, Executive Director, Women’s Liberation Front

Jim Minnery, President Alaska Family Council

Jonathan Keller, President, California Family Council

Peter Wolfgang, Executive Director, Family Policy Institute of Connecticut

Eva Andrade, President Hawaii Family Forum

Blaine Conzatti, President Family Policy Alliance of Idaho

Bob Vander Plaats, President & CEO The FAMiLY LEADER (Iowa)

Kent Ostrander, Executive Director The Family Foundation (Kentucky)

Carroll Conley, Executive Director Christian Civic League of Maine

Jeff Hewson, Executive Director, Michigan Family Forum

John Helmberger, Chief Executive Officer Minnesota Family Council

Karen Bowling, Executive Director, Nebraska Family Alliance

John Paulton, Policy Director, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico

John L. Rustin, President, North Carolina Family Policy Council

Michael Geer, President Pennsylvania Family Council

David Fowler, President Family Action Council of Tennessee

Victoria Cobb, President The Family Foundation (Virginia)

Julaine K. Appling, President Wisconsin Family Action

Jeff Laszloffy, President Montana Family Foundation

Shawn Hyland, President Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey

Jason McGuire, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms

Aaron Baer, President, Center for Christian Virtue (Ohio)

Dave Wilson, President, Palmetto Family (South Carolina)

Jonathan Saenz, President, Texas Values

Mark Miloscia, Executive Director, Family Policy Institute of Washington

Nathan Winters, President Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming

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