WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), Independent Women’s Voice, and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) announced opposition to the nomination of Judge Sarah Netburn to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and applauds the work of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, led by Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC), to expose the anti-women policies and practices advanced by Netburn. In 2022, as a magistrate judge, Netburn refused to protect women who have been victims of sexual abuse and assault when she recommended that a biological male convicted of rape and child molestation be transferred to a women’s federal prison, subjecting vulnerable female inmates to further risk. 

“I appreciate IWF, IWV and IWLC’s strong advocacy for constitutionally conservative judges. These organizations stand up to the radical left on all fronts. They are an invaluable ally to the conservative movement and I’m grateful for their efforts,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.

IWF’s exclusive docu-series, Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons, exposes the ugly fallout of such policies that allow males to self-identify into women’s prisons, as told by current and formerly incarcerated women and whistleblowers from inside the correctional world. 

Policy experts from IWF, IWV, and IWLC issued letters to Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They can be read, in part, below: 

Independent Women’s Forum President Carrie Lukas said, “No women are more vulnerable than the women who are held in our prison system. Their safety and ability to live in dignity depend entirely on those who administer the correctional facility in which they are housed. As an American, I believe emphatically that as prisoners fulfill their debt to society, they should be treated humanely and fairly. As such, we are deeply troubled by Judge Netburn’s August 3, 2022 recommendation that William McClain, a male inmate convicted of rape and child molestation, be transferred to a women’s federal prison.”

Kelsey Bolar, Independent Women’s Forum Storytelling Director and co-producer of the Cruel & Unusual Punishment series, said, “Incarcerated women have already been sentenced and are simply trying to serve their time without being forced to encounter the same types of abusive men that often landed them in prison in the first place. Judge Netburn, with her history of twisting existing law to allow transgender-identifying male inmates access to women’s prisons, would completely derail the healing process that incarcerated women require to become productive citizens after their release.”

Andrea Mew, Independent Women’s Forum Storytelling Director and co-producer of the Cruel & Unusual Punishment series, said, “Far from being compassionate or progressive, Judge Netburn threatens untold numbers of incarcerated women with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of male criminals. Therefore, I strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject President Biden’s nomination of Judge Netburn.”

Independent Women’s Law Center Director May Mailman said, “Judge Netburn unrecognizably twisted the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment into a mandate that transgender-identifying males be given access to women’s prisons. This type of judging leads the public to lose faith in the rule of law, because the law becomes the whim of a judge, rather than the hard-earned end result of a democratic process.”

Independent Women’s Voice CEO Heather Higgins, said, “Independent Women’s Voice is the leading national women’s organization dedicated to expanding support for common sense public policies among women, independents, millennials, and Gen Z. As such, we understand the danger that incarcerated women face when biological males are placed in their prisons. Sadly, Judge Netburn acts like a cavalier misogynist and refuses to protect these women.”




Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.