The Equality Act would lead to the death of women's rights
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The moment Selina Soule had waited for was finally here. She had trained hard, set goals, and persevered to reach this point: the Connecticut girls indoor track championships.

Yet, instead of qualifying for the New England regionals in the 55-meter, Selina was outpaced by two biological boys.

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Welcome to the new world of women’s sports. In school after school, boys are outcompeting girls and taking home the prize. And this is being celebrated.

As a former track coach, I worry for the future of women’s sports. As a member of Congress, I worry about the rights of women as more and more government policies redefine “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This is already having major repercussions on the rights, privacy, safety and achievements of women and girls.

Downtown Hope Center, a safe haven for women experiencing domestic and sexual abuse or homelessness in Anchorage, Alaska, is being investigated for redirecting an injured man, who claimed to be a woman, away from the women’s shelter and to immediate medical care. Hope Center offers hot showers, laundry services, and meals to all the city’s homeless. But the center’s overnight shelter specializes in serving women, many of whom have been trafficked, raped, or physically abused. One woman who sought shelter at Hope Center voiced the concern of many abused women with these words, “I would rather sleep in the woods than sleep in the same area as a biological man.”

Surely women have a right to private sleeping quarters in a women’s shelter. But not according to Anchorage’s non-discrimination policy, nor according to the Equality Act.

In the next few days, Congress is scheduled to vote on this grossly misnamed measure, the “Equality Act.” This bill, however, is anything but equalizing. It hijacks the Civil Rights Law of 1964 creating a brave new world of “discrimination” based on undefined terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation threatens women’s sports, shelters and schools, silencing female athletes, domestic abuse survivors, mothers, teachers, physicians.

This is not an exaggeration for Tamikka Brent who suffered a shattered skull and concussion in an unfair mixed martial arts fight against Fallon Fox, a man by birth and a woman by surgery, or for Selina Soule who knew that the two boys competing would take the top spots of her high school women’s competition. The male physique is advantageous in strength to a woman when it comes to athletics, and as a result, women lose. Or in the words of Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman before the House Judiciary Committee, “even at their absolute best…women would lose to literally thousands of boys and men.” 

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Congress enacted Title IX for a reason—to provide an equal playing field for men and women. But by requiring that all federally funded programs ignore the biological differences between the sexes, the Equality Act dissolves decades of women’s achievements overnight.

But wait, there’s more.

In California, nine women were sexually harassed in a women’s shelter. No one stopped the leering, the inappropriate sexual comments, or the harassment. So much for the #MeToo movement. The shelter pointed to federal grant guidelines requiring that transgender individuals be admitted to the safe haven. Assaulted in the shower by the biological male, the women, not the perpetrator, were threatened with expulsion from the shelter. This is absurd, but more situations like this would be a reality under the Equality Act’s expanded definition of “public accommodation.” Women-only spaces will be a thing of the past.

There’s another more sinister aspect to this bill: placing children at risk of medical experimentation and bleak futures when they are given the “right” to hormone blockers and sex change operations.

Most children, 98 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls, who question their gender identity will accept their birth gender after passing through puberty. Under the Equality Act, however, physicians are only given one option: affirm a child’s questioning. In other words, doctors will be forced to perform double mastectomies on healthy 13-year-old girls, and pediatric endocrinologists will have to provide hormone blockers like Lupron to kids experiencing gender dysphoria or be charged with “discrimination.” Parents who dare to oppose doctors performing life altering surgical procedures on their children or using cancer drugs—suspected of causing lasting health problems—on kids without cancer, will be considered abusive and neglectful.

Mothers who hesitate to do anything less than affirm their daughter’s desire to identify as the opposite sex will face custody battles and stand on the sidelines while others sterilize her child. This has already happened in Ohio where a couple lost custody of their daughter after advocating against male testosterone supplements. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is our children who will bear the brunt of the Equality Act’s experimental and dangerous gender conformity. 

The Equality Act enshrines inequality for women, girls, parents, and children, into federal law. This is an imminent threat to the common good, freedom, and the American dream that I work every day to preserve as a representative of the people of Missouri. Members from both sides of the aisle—especially those who claim to be pro-woman and pro-children—need to stop this devastating legislation. The future of women’s rights, privacy, protection and athletic potential depends on it.

Hartzler represents Missouri’s 4th District.