All three Democrats representing the Delaware Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act Thursday, which passed in a party-line 219-203 vote.
The bill would allow women to compete in sports without being forced to face off against males.
“For purposes of determining compliance with Title IX . . . in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth,” the bill reads. Senate Democrats are expected to prevent it from coming to the floor for a vote.
“We have come too far as women to allow biological men to compete against us in sports and for college scholarships,” said Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) via Twitter. “It is total bull****!”
Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon, Chrissy Houlahan, and Madeleine Dean all voted against the bill and in favor of allowing males who identify as female to participate in women’s sports. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) voted with the GOP majority in favor of women-only sports competitions.
Neither Scanlon, Houlahan, nor Dean would answer questions about their vote.
However, Houlahan did post a press release on her website calling the bill “an attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society—our transgender community.” She called the measure a “cynical vote” and urged Congress to “leave these infrequent conversations to students, parents, doctors, and schools who can make decisions based on kindness, inclusivity, and understanding, not fear and vitriol.”
Critics noted that leaving the issue to local schools is impossible because the Biden administration has issued a federal order arbitrarily redefining the word “sex” in Title IX to include “stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” The White House has also forbidden school districts from issuing blanket bans on biological male athletes competing in women’s sports.
Scanlon posted a video on Twitter earlier in the week telling transgender-identified individuals she would “never stop standing up for you and standing against hatred.”
Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republican Committee, told Delaware Valley Journal in a statement that she supported the bill.
“I speak to voters daily, and nearly all of them are in favor of protecting women and girls’ sports,” Poprik said. “The failure of Democrats to support this bill, once again, shows how out of touch they are to what is important to our hardworking families in our community.”
A similar proposal was passed by both houses of Pennsylvania’s legislature last year.
The state “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” stipulated that “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls … may not be open to students of the male sex.”
The bill had been introduced by five women legislators in the Pennsylvania House, with Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) stating that the legislation would “ensure all female athletes have a level playing field to compete and win.”
“Science and common sense tell us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females,” White said. “These are all advantages that cannot be undone.”
That bill passed by strong majorities in both the state House and Senate, though it was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in July. The governor had slammed the measure as “transphobic.”
The issue of transgender athletes has become a cultural flashpoint nationally in recent years, with Republicans often pushing to keep sports divided by sex and Democrats arguing that males should be allowed to compete against young women at the high school and college levels.
However, even left-leaning news outlet NPR was forced to issue a correction when it falsely reported that “there is limited scientific research” supporting the “physical advantage” males have over females in athletic competitions.
Last week, high school volleyball player Payton McNabb testified before the North Carolina legislature about “suffering severe head and neck injuries resulting in long-term concussion symptoms” after a male player who identifies as female spiked a ball in her face, a local TV station reported.
“Due to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association policy allowing biological males to compete against biological females, my life has forever been changed,” McNabb said.
“Allowing biological males to compete against biological females is dangerous. I may be the first to come before you with an injury, but if this doesn’t pass, I won’t be the last.”