On the last day of Women’s History Month, leading women’s rights groups joined a press call to discuss the need for a women’s bill of rights. Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC), and Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) unveiled and called for legislative adoption of the Women’s Bill of Rights to protect biological sex as a distinct legal category.

The Women’s Bill of Rights defines “sex” as a person’s biological sex (either male or female) at birth and seeks to enshrine in law the common understanding of the words “woman,” “girl,” and “mother.” The Women’s Bill of Rights would also codify the Supreme Court’s intermediate scrutiny standard, which forbids unfair discrimination against similarly-situated males and females but allows the law to recognize sex when relevant.

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TRANSCRIPT

Operator:

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Women’s Bill of Rights press call. As a reminder, this call is being recorded. Some of today’s speakers are available to take questions from the press at the end of the call. I’d like to introduce Independent Women’s Voice vice president, Carrie Lukas. Carrie?

Carrie Lukas | Vice President, IWV:

Thank you and thanks to those of you on the line who are joining us on the last day of Women’s History Month to discuss the need for a Women’s Bill of Rights. My name is Carrie Lukas, and I’m vice president of Independent Women’s Voice. Independent Women’s Voice is the leading national women’s organization dedicated to developing and advancing policies that support equal opportunity and freedom for all Americans. At IW, we believe that we are lucky to live in a country where women are generally at liberty to pursue their own personal visions of the good life, a nation in which unjust and arbitrary sex discrimination is unlawful. But we are concerned that today, the definition of sex discrimination and of womanhood itself is being disingenuously manipulated to harm women and girls. That’s why this diverse group of women have come together to champion a Women’s Bill of Rights.

Our Women’s Bill of Rights is model legislation that will codify the meaning of basic sex-based words such as female, male, woman, man, and declare once and for all that laws that prohibit sex discrimination prohibit unfair treatment of people based on their immutable biological sex traits. Here to discuss the Women’s Bill of Rights and to introduce our remaining speakers is my colleague, Jennifer Braceras. Jennifer is an attorney with expertise on Title IX and federal anti-discrimination law. She’s a former commissioner with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and she is the director of Independent Women’s Law Center. Jennifer, the floor is yours.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thank you, Carrie. Good afternoon and thank you to everybody who’s joining us today to learn about the Women’s Bill of Rights drafted by Independent Women’s Voice, Independent Women’s Law Center, and Women’s Liberation Front, also known as WoLF. You can find copies of the document on our respective websites, iwv.org, iwlc.org, and womensliberationfront.org. You will notice if you look at the document that it does not offer any particular policy solutions to issues surrounding sex and gender. Rather it offers a set of principles upon which policy can be based. Perhaps more importantly, it codifies the legal meaning of certain terms so we can have honest discussions and so our current laws can’t be manipulated to achieve unintended outcomes. In addition, the Women’s Bill of Rights codifies current Supreme Court precedent regarding sex-based classifications.

Precedent that forbids unfair government discrimination against similarly situated males and females, but that allows the law to distinguish between the sexes where those distinctions are relevant, in areas such as athletic teams or single-sex prisons, to name just a few. 10 years ago, I never would’ve thought that a Women’s Bill of Rights was necessary, but then 10 years ago, the definition of the word woman was uncontroversial. Today, unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to talk about women’s rights in a common language. If we don’t clarify what it means to be a woman and codify the definition of common sex-based terms, laws that prohibit sex discrimination will cease to mean anything at all. And that is an untenable situation for women on both sides of the political aisle. That’s why IW, a group of right-of-center conservative and libertarian women, have joined forces with WoLF, a feminist group on the left of the political spectrum, to create this document.

We would, of course, love to see the Women’s Bill of Rights enacted into law in all 50 states and into federal law. But for now, we are thrilled to unveil it as a vehicle to help change the conversation and to educate Americans from all walks of life about the ways in which activists are manipulating language to change our culture, twist our anti-discrimination laws, and undo a generation of progress in women’s rights. And with that, I would like to introduce the co-author of the Women’s Bill of Rights, Lauren Adams. Lauren is the legal director of the Women’s Liberation Front. Lauren, please take a moment and tell us a little bit about your organization, your involvement with this project, and why we need a Women’s Bill of Rights.

Lauren Adams | Legal Director of WoLF:

Thank you. Women’s Liberation Front or WoLF is a national feminist organization that works to protect, advance, and restore the rights of women and girls. We fight against regressive gender roles, male violence, and the sexual and reproductive exploitation of women’s bodies. We are pro-choice. We are pro-gay rights. Women and girls rely on access to female-only spaces, services, and resources to ensure we are fully able to participate in public life. The advances of gender ideology that have been made in law policy have made it difficult to maintain these games that women have had over the past century, first because our speech is being policed and our voice is stifled. We are being censored to platformed and told inside and outside of court that it is incorrect and even hateful to use the word woman or female in a way that excludes all male people. The second reason it’s been difficult is because these policies are often implemented away from the public eye with no debate or discussion and with no transparency.

In California, men are being transferred into women’s prisons, one-third of whom are sex offenders and the women they are incarcerated with are not even allowed to call them male and official complaints about sexual assault. WoLF has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging this policy, which is also happening on the federal level and in most other states. The Women’s Bill of Rights will ensure that our laws continue to recognize that there are legitimate reasons to distinguish between the sexes with respect to athletics, prisons, domestic violence and rape, shelters, restrooms, locker rooms, and other areas where biology, safety or privacy are implicated. It will also ensure that women have the vocabulary to describe themselves and to advocate for themselves in the legal system and it will ensure that the public is fully aware of any policies being implemented because the terms won’t be obscured.

It would not prevent Congress or the states from enacting legislation that protects people based on other characteristics, the five sex, including gender identity, but it would require legislators to acknowledge that these categories are distinct and to consider the many ways in which gender identity policies make conflict with sex-based rights. Thank you.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thank you so much, Lauren. Our next guest needs no introduction. She is a journalist, author, and Yale-educated attorney. Her book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters speaks compassionately about the ways in which gender ideology is harming teenage girls. Thank you for being here today, Abigail Shrier, to support the Women’s Bill of Rights.

Abigail Shrier | Author, Irreversible Damage:

Thank you so much, Jennifer, and thanks to everyone on the call. The rise of gender ideology, the idea that the category female does not apply exclusively to women and girls has been a problem for society, but it’s been a disaster for girls. The reason it’s been a disaster for girls is because it has pressed the undo button on all of the rights and advances that women have fought for generations to achieve, the creation of physically protective spaces for women, the creation of a robust sports regime. Women have never accepted the idea that any sex can qualify for women’s rights. And the reason the Women’s Bill of Rights is so important is that it makes crystal clear that we do not accept it now. Women are compassionate and inclusive by nature. We want all kinds of people to flourish in this country, including transgender Americans, but we are not giving up women’s rights without a fight. Thank you.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thank you so much, Abigail. Now we’re going to hear from a mother of a college swimmer who has competed against Leah Thomas, the college swimmer who formally competed on the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swim and dive team as Will Thomas before joining the university’s women’s team this past fall. We are calling our guest Margaret, although that is not her real name. Margaret has requested anonymity in order to protect her daughter. Margaret, please tell us why you are supporting the Women’s Bill of Rights.

Margaret* | Mother of a female swimmer:

Hi, Jennifer. Thank you. Glad to be here. What is a woman? A woman is not defined by her social roles, her appearance, or her feelings, a woman is not defined by her hormone levels or her cosmetic attributes. A woman is defined as an adult human female, recognizing that definition and the biological basis for womanhood is the only way we can protect women’s rights. Sex is an unequivocal immutable truth, and it has been the basis for the historical marginalization and oppression of women over all times. Now, after decades of progress, women are under threat again as the very words that define us are being eroded, blurring the legal protections that allow women to rise out of the shadows. Nowhere is this more on display than in the physical contest of sports. The creation and investment in single-sex sport has contributed not only to female athletic success, but the ability for women to overcome marginalization in general. It is no surprise that the rise of women’s sports has coincided with the rise of women’s voices, status, and contributions.

A female champion, a female athlete is a symbol of power and inspiration and a source of strength. Alongside a female leader in business or politics, a female athlete is a chance for women and girls to see their potential, to know they are worthy of reward and recognition. We cannot strip that away. Recognizing and respecting the distinction between male and female bodies and their totally independent and incomparable physical limits is the only way women can succeed in sports. This year, I saw firsthand the damage that occurs when we blur the definition of women as I watched my daughter and other female collegiate swimmers face Leah Thomas, the first male swimmer in women’s NCAA swimming. I saw previously empowered young women fade in strength and confidence. I watched in dismay as these young women were gaslighted, shamed, and told to seek counseling because they tried to point out discrimination.

I saw tears, frustration, silence, lost records, and lost opportunities. I saw shocked young women question whether they had a right to undress out of the sight of male eyes and male nudity in a woman’s locker room. I heard the stories of usually excited chatter and celebratory locker rooms going eerily silent. What I witnessed was nothing short of emotional blackmail and abuse. Make no mistake. This is the result when those in power use inclusion as a vehicle to deliver the damaging blows of sex-based discrimination at women. This is not the world I want for my daughter. This is not the world women and girls deserve. We are members of the female sex and the only way we have protection in society is to have clear language that defines us apart from males. Sex-based rights and categories are not a buffet for those who would like to join our numbers but do not share in the biological basis of our burdens and our oppression.

Women are adult human females. Women’s sports, spaces, healthcare, and representation are dependent on this simple truth, and that is why we need the Women’s Bill of Rights. Thank you.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thank you so much, Margaret, for that emotional testimony. We really appreciate you being here. Our next guest is Doreen Denny, a senior advisor with Concerned Women for America. In addition to our work for CWA, Doreen is a political and cultural commentator who has appeared on Fox News, PBS News Hour, CBSN, and National Public Radio. Doreen, please briefly describe your organization and your support for the Women’s Bill of Rights.

Doreen Denny | Senior Advisor, CWA:

Thank you, Jennifer, and thank you Independent Women’s Voice. I’m glad to be here with you today. Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest grassroots public policy women’s organization with a rich history of over 40 years, bringing foundational and biblical principles into all levels of public policy. As cultural battles rage across this country, CWA is on the front lines, protecting these values through prayer and action. We focus on seven core issues, among them defending life and family, protecting our first amendment freedoms, parental rights and education, and guarding against sexual exploitation. We never expected that after 50 years of Title IX and decades of progress for women, we’d be fighting to preserve our very status and dignity as women. From day one, CWA put a stake in the ground on the fundamental truth that mankind is created male and female. This is not theology, it’s reality.

You’ve just heard about the heartbreaking injustice happening in women’s sports. We’ve been on the front lines of this fight now for four years. On March 17th, the day that Lia Thomas won Division One national championship in women’s swimming, CWA took the first official on this case. We filed a Title IX Civil Rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights against the University of Pennsylvania. The complaint sites Penn’s violations of sex discrimination under Title IX in its women’s athletics program, violations including the hostile environment it created for Margaret’s daughter and her teammates. Now CWA filed complaints against universities in 2019 and 2020 for allowing biological males in women’s sports. We’ve had one complaint resolved by the office for civil rights and it was in our favor. So why should that not happen in this case? And I hope those on this call today will ask the Biden administration about the status of our complaint and press them for answers.

CWA’s pathbreaking partnership also with women on the opposite side of the political spectrum began years ago. Our work with Women’s Liberation Front and Kara Dansky with the Women’s Declaration continues to prove the power of principle, overcoming politics or partisanship. And that’s why I’m here today to support IWS and the Women’s Bill of Rights. Why is it that our women’s groups and the women we represent are the only voices standing for the status and dignity of women? Where are liberal women, the so-called National Organization for Women and others? What is their excuse? We here today are the women’s voice for truth about the sexes based on an undeniable fact. And here I’ll quote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from a landmark women’s rights case. Physical differences between men and women are enduring. This Women’s Bill of Rights is a needed north star for law and policy to right the Ship of State against the wrongs that women are facing today.

Our safety, privacy, and opportunities are being flouted by of activism that invades our institutions and trades truth for a lie. The Women’s Bill of Rights is a common-sense declaration on the biology of sex. It should be something people across the political spectrum come together and embrace. All women should have the assurance that our intrinsic dignity and status are recognized and protected on the basis of sex. I thank you very much that we are here today and thank you for the press on this call joining us.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thanks, Doreen. Our next guest is Kara Dansky, president of the U.S. chapter of Women’s Declaration International. Kara is a lawyer, feminist, activist, and author of the book, The Abolition of Sex, which explains succinctly and clear many of the issues we are attempting to address today with our Women’s Bill of Rights. Kara, please tell us a little bit about WDI and why you are supporting the Women’s Bill of Rights.

Kara Dansky | President of WDI U.S.A:

Thank you, Jennifer, and thanks to everyone who’s joining us today. Women’s Declaration International is the leading global organization dedicated to protecting the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls as a sex class. We work at the international, national, state, and local levels to advance the declaration on women’s sex-based rights, which reaffirms women’s rights to physical and reproductive integrity and the discrimination that result from the replacement of the category of sex with that of so-called gender identity. Article one of the declaration on women’s sex-based rights calls on countries to maintain the centrality of the category of sex, not so-called gender identity in relation to women’s and girls’ right to be free from discrimination. We proudly stand for the rights of all women and girls, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.

As a nonpartisan and radical feminist organization, we clearly see the threat that redefining sex to include gender identity poses to women and girls. I am proud to represent the U.S. chapter in supporting the Women’s Bill of Rights here today. These threats to women and girls are not hypothetical. We’ve already seen men participating in women’s sports and exposed themselves to women and girls in public restrooms and spas and convicted male rapists and murderers being housed in women’s prisons on the basis of their so-called gender identity. President Biden began to obliterate sex as a distinct category immediately upon taking office when he signed executive order 13988 on preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of so-called gender identity as sexual orientation. The president has been viciously and meticulously shredding women’s rights ever since by issuing a series of memos and orders that redefine sex to include so-called gender identity.

The Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have all announced that women no longer exist as a coherent category as a matter of federal administrative law. Today, the Biden administration announced new developments in its March [inaudible 00:19:19] violate the boundaries of women and girls. For example, the state department announced that starting on April 11th, U.S. citizens will be able to select X as a so-called non-binary gender marker on passports. TSA announced that it is going to relax airport security so as not to be able to detect sex during security screenings, making it easier for terrorists to enter passenger areas of airports. These are just a few examples of steps the Biden administration took today to obliterate sex and violate the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls.

Things are going to get even worse. [inaudible 00:20:05] specific sports and spaces. Book, The Abolition of Sex, I explain why the redefinition of sex to include so-called gender identity harms everyone by obliterating the material reality of biological sex. The so-called transgender movement is not a civil rights movement to protect a community of marginalized people. It is a top-down movement to abolish sex as a coherent category in law and throughout society and it is being fueled by a trillion-dollar industry consisting of pharmaceutical companies, medical supply companies, foundations, law firms, and nonprofit organizations. This industry-funded movement harms everyone, but it harms women and girls in particular. Everyone is either female or male, everything else is a lie. In January, President Biden announced that he would nominate a black woman serve as next justice [inaudible 00:20:55] on the Supreme Court, and he did. The president and Judge Jackson know exactly what the word woman means.

Every single American knows that a woman is an adult human female. [inaudible 00:21:09] once said that sexism is the foundation on which all [inaudible 00:21:12] is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male over female domination. It’s absolutely right. [inaudible 00:21:20] male over female domination itself, traditionally referred to as femininity or gender needs to be abolished, not enshrined in law. It is time for all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, to understand what is happening before their very eyes and to fight back together. Please join us in supporting the Women’s Bill of Rights. Thank you.

Carrie Lukas | Vice President, IWV:

Thank you, Kara. And to all of our participants, thank you very much for your insightful commentary. We’d now like to open it up for any questions. Operator?

Operator:

Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing star one on your telephone keypad. If you’re using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach your equipment. Again, press star one to ask a question. We’ll pause for just a moment to allow everyone an opportunity to signal for questions. Well, I’ll take our first question from Valerie Richardson with Washington Times.

Valerie Richardson:

Hi, I wanted to just notice as you pointed out that you chose to make this announcement on International Transgender Day of Visibility, which as Kara Dansky just pointed out, the Biden administration is marking in many ways. Why did you choose this day to make this announcement?

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Well, we chose today, Valerie, because it is the last day of Women’s History Month and women need to be visible in this country as well. We have nothing against trans people making themselves visible or demanding respect, but as women during Women’s History Month, we thought this would be a good time to come forward and stand up for women as a distinct biological and legal category since this is also a time when women are most threatened.

Valerie Richardson:

Thank you.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Sure.

Operator:

Thank you. Once again, please press start one to ask a question. We’ll now take our next question from Caroline Downey with National Review.

Caroline Downey:

Hi. Yeah, this is Caroline Downey from National Review. I understand that the Women’s Bill of Rights is a blueprint of sorts as many speakers already mentioned. Can you just talk a little bit more about that? Is it going to be presented to certain lawmakers or what is the long game for this proposal?

Carrie Lukas | Vice President, IWV:

This is Carrie Lukas of Independent Women’s Voice and I’ll take a first stab at that one in that we are making this available to the public. So we’ve published this on iwv.org and anyone can come and take a look and we’re encouraging people to add their name. We want the public, we want people everywhere, lawmakers at the state level, as well as the federal level to see this. We have been talking to some of the folks on the Capitol Hill who we know are interested in this topic and we think it’s really important. One of the things that’s nice about having such a broad and diverse coalition of women on this call today and really supporting this effort is this does have the potential for bipartisanship. It should have the potential for bipartisanship. And so I hope that everybody reaches out to all their contacts, and we invite any lawmaker at any level of government to reach out to those of us on this call and to come visit us at iwv.org to express their support and to move this forward wherever they can.

Caroline Downey:

Great. Thank you.

Operator:

Thank you. We’ll now take our next question from Sandra Locklear who’s a private investor.

Sandra Locklear:

Hi, this is Sandra. Thank you for all your efforts today, women. Every one of you, I really appreciate it. Just a quick question, what did you mean in the language in reaching out to us in regards to what this call is about when you said similarly situated male or female? I was listening for that in the commentary today, but I didn’t hear the answer to that. Thank you.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Sure. This is Jennifer Braceras with Independent Women’s Law Center. That’s sort of a legal term of art that when people bring sex discrimination cases, let’s say in the employment context, if I were to sue my employer and say that I was discriminated against on the basis of sex, I would need to prove that I was treated differently than other similarly situated men. So for example, if my position is that I’m a bus driver, the question is whether I’m treated the same or paid the same, for example, as other male bus drivers of the same perhaps rank and seniority within my union maybe. Those would be some of the factors that the court would consider. So the court can’t compare apples to oranges, it needs to compare apples to apples. So if I were bringing a discrimination suit as a bus driver, the court wouldn’t, for example, compare me to the CEO of the company or a janitor at the company.

It would look to comparators, male comparators who were similarly situated to me in my work to see if, in fact, my employer had treated me differently than those people. So it’s really a legal term of ours. Hopefully, that explains it.

Sandra Locklear:

Yes. Thank you very much.

Operator:

Thank you. There are no further questions at this time.

Carrie Lukas | Vice President, IWV:

Well, thanks, everybody. That concludes today’s call hosted by Independent Women’s Law Center and Independent Women’s Voice. Please visit iwv.org for more information and to read our work on this issue. For any follow-up questions for any of our speakers on today’s call, please email [email protected], [email protected]I-W-V.O-R-G. Thank you very much.

Operator:

This concludes today’s call. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

Jennifer Braceras | Director, IWLC:

Thanks, everybody.