Riley Gaines
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines has previously spoken out in favor of the bill as she condemned the decision to allow transgender athletes into female locker rooms.
Kansas has become the first state to pass a bill that defines 'woman' as someone who is biologically born female in a move that paves the way for banning transgender people from single-sex areas.

Legislators voted in favor of the Women's Bill of Rights on Thursday which has already sparked fierce backlash from the Kansas Senate Democrats who said it was 'equally offensive' to trans and cisgender women.

But Republican Senator Renee Ericksson, who spearheaded the bill, insisted it was a 'very factual' and 'objective' move.

The bill defines a female as someone 'whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova' while 'male' refers to anyone whose reproductive system 'is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.'

Comment: Sounds sensible.

It lies the foundation for future laws banning transgender athletes from girls and women's K-12, club and college sports.

It could also prevent transgender men and women from changing their birth certificates and driver's licenses after transitioning and they may be forced to use restrooms and other facilities associated with the gender assigned to them at birth.

Senators voted 26-10 to approve the bill though it received no Democratic support.

It had already been vetoed by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly who had quashed two previous proposals.

The issue of what a 'woman' is has been the center of a fiery culture war in the US, with trans activists arguing its definition should be inclusive of people who were born male but later identify as female.

Left-leaning politicians all over the world have been caught up in knots by interviewers who asked them to define what a 'woman' is.

Last year Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sparked ridicule when she answered the question by saying 'I am not a biologist.'

Senator Erickson told the Washington Times: 'What this does is simply codify in the law the definition of sex.

'It simply says that in existing statute or law, where there is a definition of sex, it means biological male and female as determined at birth. That's very factual, it's very objective.'

However she said the bill does not deal with 'gender identity.'

'There are legitimate reasons to distinguish between the sexes with respect to prisons, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and other areas where safety and privacy are needed,' Erickson added.

'This bill does not create any new rights or entitlements. It simply codifies the definition of sex as biological male and female in existing statutes and laws.'

It has had several public advocates including former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines who has called for greater protections of female athletes.

Gaines has spoken out against the presence of transgender athletes in women's locker rooms.

The 23-year-old swam against Lia Thomas, a biological man who spent the first three years as a college swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania men's swim team.

She came back for the final year as a female swimmer, breaking records in the pool.

It comes after similar measures have been considered in Oklahoma, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Legislators in South Carolina are considering a joint resolution which would amend the state constitution to defines sex as biological sex at birth.

Last night the Kansas Senate Democrats published a long thread on Twitter condemning the news.

'In case you were concerned that #ksleg politicians had come up with this themselves, have no fear: this is part of a national push to put biologically essentialist language in statute so that legislators have basis to ban trans people from public spaces,' a spokesman wrote.

However the move was welcomed by women's rights campaigners.

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of the Independent Women's Law Center' told the Washington Times: 'It codifies the current constitutional jurisprudence and the intermediate scrutiny standard that we've all come to rely on to protect women's rights, but also to recognize that there are certain situations in which men and women can be separated without violating the constitution.

'Bathrooms, prisons, sports, domestic-violence shelters, etc.'