DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa House of Representatives voted on Monday to pass HF 2416, a bill that allows only biological females to compete in girls’ sports, by a 55 to 39 party-line vote.
The bill requires an individual’s original birth certificate to determine their biological sex. If passed, the law will be enforced among public and non-public high schools and colleges in the state that compete in girls’ and women’s sports.
“This is not about discrimination, it’s about protection,” State Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Orange City, the floor manager of the bill, said. “This bill is to ensure that girls continue to have a level playing field in athletics and that they don’t lose out on varsity letters, scholarships, championships, and all the skills and life lessons that come with playing a sport. It’s simple. Girls shouldn’t be sidelined in their own sports.”
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, said the bill wasn’t about protecting girls’ sports.
“If this was really about fairness, we’d be talking about that. But we’re talking about discrimination.,” she said. “Kids who are transgender do not equate to cancer. Kids who are transgender do not have a mental illness. Kids are kids.”
State Rep. Eric Gjerde, D-Cedar Rapids, called the bill detrimental to all youth.
“To all trans youth in IA – you are loved, you are valued, your rights matter,” he said.
After the vote, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, praised the passage of the bill.
“With two daughters in sports, I am so often approached by parents concerned with protecting girls’ sports,” he said. “The purpose of this legislation is to protect girls’ opportunity to participate in sports and gain all of the important life skills that come with that experience. I was glad to see it pass the Iowa House tonight.”
The bill was supported by groups such as the Iowa Baptists for Biblical Values, VALOR Iowa, Concerned Women for America of Iowa, and The FAMiLY Leader.
Groups opposing the legislation include the Iowa Public Health Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Family and Marriage Therapy, AFL-CIO of Iowa, Iowa Association of School Boards, Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association, Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Orchard Place, One Iowa, Iowa Safe Schools, Planned Parenthood, Urban Education Network of Iowa, Rural School Advocates of Iowa, ACLU of Iowa, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa Mental Health Planning Council, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Apple, Inc., School Administrators of Iowa, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and Human Rights Campaign.
Notably, all business organizations did not register on the bill and the Iowa Board of Regents registered as undecided.
In a 2020 poll conducted by SPRY Strategies and commissioned by American Principles Project, Iowans expressed overwhelming support for this type of legislation. Only 26 percent of Iowans agreed that biological men who identify as transgender should be able to compete in women’s sports, 74 percent said they should not be allowed.
The Iowa Senate’s companion bill, SF 2342, was passed by the Iowa Senate Education Committee.