Oklahoma Senate Debates Female Definition in Contentious Women’s Bill of Rights

KOKH - April 24, 2024 12:20 pm

The definition of a woman was up for debate in the Oklahoma Senate.

HB1449 is being called both a protective measure for females and a danger to the transgender community.

The Women’s Bill of Rights spells out the definition of a woman, female and mother, and requires biological women to have separate but equal spaces.

Debate on the bill was bolstered by the women of the Senate on both sides of the aisle.

“Whatever the intention is, it is causing harm,” Sen. Julia Kirt, (D)-OKC said.

Republican Senator Julie Daniels argued, “having to have a debate about whether or not women actually do exist is infuriating to me.”

One of the bill’s sponsors is Senator Jessica Garvin, who said the policy will be used for collecting data, deciding best medical practices and prohibiting those who are not biologically women from women’s public spaces, such as bathrooms or prisons.

“I do believe that biological women have the right to feel safe in their spaces that again were designed for them,” Sen. Garvin said.

It will be up to the individual to avoid bathrooms that don’t match their biological sex, a concern to Democratic Sen. Carri Hicks.

“This bills language lacks detail such as enforcement mechanisms and penalties, leaving its potential impact unclear,” she said.

Democrats are also concerned about how the bill will impact the transgender community.

“This bill goes way too far,” Sen. Mary Boren, (D)-Norman said. “And it sets up some people to be very targeted in our state.”

Republicans argued that the focus of the policy is protecting biological women.

“I think we can be both loving and accommodating and also recognize that this should not be done on the backs of women,” Sen. Daniels said.

“There is nothing more discriminatory, sexist than opening up these definitions and saying anybody can be female,” Sen. Kristen Thompson also added.

The bill passed on the Senate Floor 35-7 and will be sent to the Governor.


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