Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma signed an executive order Tuesday to define the words “woman,” “mother” and “female,” according to a press release.

The “Women’s Bill of Rights” was drafted by advocacy groups Independent Woman’s Voice, Independent Women’s Law Center and Women’s Liberation Front in March 2022, who argued that a more specific and comprehensive definition of woman needed to be made due to efforts by “activists who dispute the biological basis of womanhood,” according to a press release. Stitt issued the “bill of rights” as an executive order Monday, touting the measure as a necessary step to “protect women,” according to a Tuesday press release.

“I am taking decisive executive action to ensure the true definition of the word woman, meaning a biological woman, is what guides the state as we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the safety, dignity, and sanctity of women across Oklahoma,” Stitt said in a prepared statement. “As long as I’m governor, we will continue to protect women and ensure women-only spaces are reserved solely for biological women.”

The “Women’s Bill of Rights” explains that males and females have a different set of “immutable biological differences” and that women are the only ones who are able to give birth and get pregnant, while men are “bigger, stronger, and faster” on average than their female counterparts. The executive order criticizes “inconsistencies in court rulings and policy initiatives” for being unable to consistently define a “woman” and explained that as a result, it is necessary to give Americans clear and defined terms.

The order further notes that these distinct differences require there to be different approaches to “athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, locker rooms, restrooms, and other areas where biology, safety, and/or privacy are implicated.” The move is in contradiction with President Joe Biden’s administration, which has been an avid supporter of transgender rights and the inclusion of biological males in traditionally female-only spaces.

Riley Gaines, an adviser for Independent Women’s Voice and 12-time All-American swimmer, applauded Stitt for signing the order to “ensure female only spaces have a future,” according to the press release.

“It is sad that such basic truths must be spelled out to ensure equal protection, but I applaud Governor Stitt for taking decisive action today,” Gaines said. “Establishing common language by way of the Women’s Bill of Rights is a way of saying enough is enough: Oklahoman women deserve equal opportunity, privacy, and safety, and this order will help deliver it.”

A federal version of the order was introduced as a resolution by Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona and Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi in February to affirm women’s unique protections under federal law.

 

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