Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a series of bills Wednesday including legislation that he says will protect the rights of female athletes as well as the lives of unborn children.
“Today I signed S.B. 1138 and S.B. 1165, legislation to protect participation and fairness for female athletes, and to ensure that individuals undergoing irreversible gender reassignment surgery are of adult age,” Ducey wrote in a letter explaining the bills he signed. “This legislation is common-sense and narrowly-targeted to address these two specific issues — while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society.”
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S.B. 1165 requires Arizona public schools, and any private schools competing against them, to designate athletic teams based on the biological sex of the students participating.
“S.B. 1165 creates a statewide policy to ensure that biologically female athletes at Arizona public schools, colleges, and universities have a level playing field to compete,” Governor Ducey said. “Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive.”
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S.B. 1138 prohibits irreversible gender reassignment surgery for children until the age of 18.
“The bill does not prohibit puberty blocking hormones or any other hormone therapy and will not require any child to go off any prescriptions they may be taking,” the press release says.
Additionally, Ducey signed S.B. 1164 which “prohibits a physician from performing an abortion past 15 weeks gestation, except in a medical emergency.”
Ducey also signed an election integrity bill, H.B. 2492, that requires election workers to validate citizenship before allowing individuals to vote in person or by mail.
“Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote,” Ducey wrote.
Ducey’s ban on transgender athletes comes the same day Oklahoma’s governor signed similar legislation as states across the country wrestle with the hot-button issue of student-athletes born as males competing in women’s sports based on their gender identity.
Flanked by more than a dozen young female athletes, including his 14-year-old daughter Piper, Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the measure, dubbed the “Save Women’s Sports Act.”
“This bill, the Save Women’s Sports Act, to us in Oklahoma is just common sense,” said Stitt, a first-term Republican who is running for re-election. “When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys. And let’s be very clear: That’s all this bill says.”