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Gov. Stitt signs 'Women's Bill of Rights' through Executive Order

Stitt signs Women's Bill of Rights
Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 01, 2023

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law what supporters call the Women's Bill of Rights on Aug. 1.

The Executive Order was posted online about two hours after the ceremonial signing.

In short, the Order defines "sex" in state law as a person's assigned sex at birth.

For example, the Order defines "female" as a person whose biological reproductive system is designed to produce ova. "Male" is defined as a person whose biological reproductive system is designed to fertilize the ova of a female.

In the Order, Stitt says this will settle the "unfounded confusion surrounding such basic questions as 'What is a woman?', this Order is intended to provide clarity, certainty, and uniformity to administrative actions and rules."

The Order will impact bathroom use, sports, and prisons for those who don't identify with their assigned gender at birth.

Stitt spoke at the signing with the Independent Women's Voice, who streamed the signing on their Facebook page.

"I'm thrilled to gather and really safeguard the God-given rights of women all across Oklahoma," Stitt said.

Stitt is the first Governor in the country to put the law into place via Executive Order. Kansas, Montana, and Tennessee passed bills with similar language through their legislatures.

"Today, we're taking a stand against this out-of-control gender ideology that is eroding the very foundation of our society," he said. "We are going to be safeguarding the very essence of what it means to be a woman."

Two bills with language from the Independent Women's Voice were introduced in the 2023 legislative session, SB 408 and HB 1449, neither of which made it to the governor's desk.

"Oklahomans are fed up with attempts to confuse the word woman and turn it into some kind of ambiguous prevented definition that harms our real women," he said.

Representative Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin and Senator Jessica Garvin introduced HB 1449 and SB 408 in the spring. In a joint statement, the two legislatures said:

We are both immensely relieved to see the Women's Bill of Rights take effect in Oklahoma. Women must be protected in situations where they may be vulnerable, and inviting biological men into these spaces without the consent of the women present is unsafe, unwise and unjust.

Last interim, we saw the need for a clear distinction of biological sex in legal situations and worked together to file legislation in February to enact the Women's Bill of Rights.

While we are glad to see this policy take effect, we are disappointed the governor did not acknowledge the efforts of the female legislators who authored the policy, spent months rallying support for it, and invested hours before committees and on the chamber floor debating its merits.

Freedom Oklahoma, a non-profit advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, said the Executive Order is neither about rights nor protecting women.

"It is a thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women. This bill does not protect women, but instead opens the door for further civil rights violations that open all women to being harassed and targeted as they have their femininity assessed and judged by a public who feels increased permission to police gender. We know that this Executive Order, like the legislation we saw from this same organization this session, is not rooted in what is best for women or even clarity within the law, rather it is a blatant celebration of transmisogyny from the Governor’s office.” said Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma.

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