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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Save Women's Sports Act

'The legacy of women's sports will be safeguarded for generations to come,' said Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Save Women's Sports Act

Texas is the latest to formally require athletes to compete on teams that correspond with their biological sex rather than their gender identities.

Texas enacted similar legislation in 2021, prohibiting transgender-identifying public school students from competing on teams of the opposite biological sex.

Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 15 and called the “Save Women’s Sports” Act “vital.”

"Today is an important day for female athletes across the state of Texas, including little girls who aspire to one day compete in college sports," said Abbott in a statement on June 15. "The Save Women's Sports Act protects young women at Texas colleges and universities by prohibiting men from competing on a team or as an individual against them in college sports.” 

“Sports have inspired many women to cast bold visions and dreams of what they want to achieve,” the governor continued. “The legacy of women's sports will be safeguarded for generations to come. Women in Texas can be assured that the integrity of their sports will be protected in our state."

In addition to explicitly banning biological men from competing on women’s teams, SB 15 creates a pathway for people to seek injunctive relief if a public college or university violates the bill. 

State Senator Mayes Middleton, the Republican who sponsored the bill, argued the policy protects “the integrity of women’s sports.”

“The bill makes sure women are not forced to compete against biological men, who steal victories and athletic records from females, and put women's athletic scholarships unfairly at risk,” Middleton said in a statement on Facebook on Jan. 30. “Students should compete in athletic competitions based on their God-given biological gender. You can't have fair competition when women are forced to compete against biological men.”

When the policy was passed by the Texas House following a 93-49 bipartisan vote in May, the Judeo-Christian values advocacy organization Texas Values celebrated the policy as a key expansion of preexisting law. 

Women’s sports laws should apply to every female athlete from grade school to college. Failing to include protections for collegiate athletes undermines the entire purpose of women’s sports laws,” the organization said in a press release

The Human Rights Campaign, conversely, condemned state lawmakers for “its unrelenting, misplaced and cruel focus on limiting the lives of transgender Texans” after passing SB15 and four other laws.

Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, claimed in a statement that “bills like gender affirming care bans, drag show bans, sports bans and gender marker bans are driven by a small group of funders that do not reflect the opinions of the majority of Texans.”

"Save Women's Sports" bills have been introduced in nearly every state since 2021.

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