JACKSON, MS – Today, Independent Women’s Voice applauds the Mississippi Legislature for bi-partisan passage of House Bill 1607the Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights—moving Mississippi one step closer to being a state that stands with women. The Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights clearly defines ‘male’ and ‘female’ terms based on biology and declares the state’s right to have single-sex spaces such as rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, prisons, athletic teams, locker rooms, and sororities. The measure prevents sex-discrimination and protects legislative transparency.

Once signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves, HB 1607 would assist judges and federal administrators interpreting Mississippi law by:

  • Defining sex-based terms already used in 204 statutes in Mississippi and offer clarity for new laws passed in the future; and,
  • Declaring Mississippi’s interest in protecting certain single-sex spaces. 

Recent years have seen an aggressive attempt to eliminate women as a distinct legal category. Definitions will bring clarity, certainty, and uniformity to how women are treated under Mississippi law, helping to preserve single-sex spaces that are important for privacy, safety, and equal opportunity. 

If signed into law, Mississippi will follow the lead of other states inspired by Women’s Bill of Rights legislation, including Kansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Idaho, all of which adopted similar measures, and Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, and Louisiana, all of which are moving legislation inspired by the Women’s Bill of Rights this session.

The Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights, sponsored by State Representative Dana McLean, is modeled off of model legislation drafted by Independent Women’s Voice and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) in collaboration with the feminist organization Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), first announced in March 2022.

Riley Gaines, Independent Women’s Voice ambassador, said: “We live in a society where it’s both necessary and urgent state legislatures define sex-based terms like ‘woman’ in statute. This isn’t semantics and this shouldn’t be political. Any state that doesn’t codify ‘female’ terms in law is setting their female residents up to be subjects of sex-discrimiation. I’m proud and grateful for the leadership of the Mississippi Legislature voting overwhelmingly with bi-partisan support of biological reality. One more step before the Women’s Bill of Rights reaches the governor’s desk and becomes law.”

Paula Scanlan, Independent Women’s Voice ambassador, said: “This will be a huge win for the 1.5 million women in Mississippi. I’m proud of the Mississippi legislature — and notably Senator Brice Wiggins, Speaker Jason White, and Rep. Dana McLean, Rep. Joey Hood, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, and Gov. Tate Reeves —  for taking such clear and sensible action to stand with women. The Women’s Bill of Rights legislation is as common sense as it gets. This is language that has been supported by Democrats and Republicans and is the most compassionate way to handle the crisis our country is facing where women are losing opportunities every day to men. Mississippi’s leaders have taken a firm stance against the erasure of women and I am excited to see these definitions codified in law.”

Jennifer C. Braceras, vice president for legal affairs at Independent Women’s Voice and founder of Independent Women’s Law Center, said: “By advancing the Women’s Bill of Rights, the Mississippi legislature has acted in the best interest of its constituents. This bill clarifies the meaning of common sex-based terms to prevent judicial and bureaucratic overreach while leaving space for the legislature to consider complex social issues on a case-by-case basis. The Mississippi legislature knows what a woman is.”

Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.