WASHINGTON, D.C. – Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) recently filed an amicus brief in support of female student athletes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case, Doe v. Horne, involves a challenge to Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act, A.R.S. § 15-120.02, which protects the female category in sport.  

A lower federal court enjoined the state statute, holding that keeping males who identify as girls from competing in women’s sports violates Title IX. But Title IX was passed in 1972 to expand opportunities for women and girls, not limit them. And  schools cannot possibly fulfill their statutory duty to provide equal athletic opportunities to male and female students if they must open female teams to males.

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said: “Competitive sport is a zero-sum game where some athletes make the cut, and others do not. The lower court’s ruling completely ignores the reality that every time a coach offers a spot on the team to a biological male, a female loses a roster spot. Others will lose playing time. This isn’t fair. It’s discriminatory, and it violates the very statute (Title IX) that the lower court claims requires these results.”

Riley Gaines, Stand with Women spokeswoman at Independent Women’s Forum and 12x NCAA All-American swimmer, said: “I saw firsthand what happens when we don’t protect women’s sports. As a female athlete, I’m grateful and proud to stand with the Independent Women’s Law Center in fighting to save women’s sports in Arizona and across the country.” 

Paula Scanlan, Stand With Women spokeswoman at Independent Women’s Forum and former NCAA swimmer and ex-teammate of Lia Thomas, said, “There can be no equality in sport without protected female categories. The Arizona Save Women’s Sports Act fortifies Title IX by explicitly protecting those categories. It should be upheld.”

Payton McNabb, junior spokeswoman for Independent Women’s Forum and former high school volleyball player who was severely injured by a male player on an opposing women’s team, said, “Arizona’s law will ensure no other girl is subjected to serious injury by a male player in her sport like I was. Allowing even a single biological male to compete on a women’s team or in a women’s event is unsafe for women and girls.”

The brief can be found HERE



Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and the continued legal relevance of biological sex.


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