Owens Statement on Protecting Women’s Sports, Empowering Parents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Chairman of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, delivered the following statement, as prepared for delivery, at the Education and the Workforce Committee Markup on H.R. 734, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 and H.R. 5, the Parents Bill of Rights Act.

“When Title IX became law, participation in women’s sports was still rare and scholarships for female athletes were virtually non-existent. Title IX changed everything. 

“I welcomed the changes brought by Title IX. I believe women should have equal opportunity in every area, but especially in education and that includes sports. 

“Sports has had a profound impact on me, and I have seen how sports empowered the women in my life and helped shape their character. I am saddened to think that these same opportunities might not be available in the future. 

“I want to continue seeing young girls and women benefit from the protections of Title IX. 

“That’s why I support the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, authored by Rep. Greg Steube of Florida. This legislation ensures that when it comes to institutions and programs receiving federal education dollars, biological females compete against other biological females in women’s sports. Until just a few years ago having women-only leagues was considered common sense. 

Allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports eclipses women if it does not erase them altogether. 

“Men and women have vastly different athletic abilities when it comes to muscle mass, lung capacity, height, and other physical characteristics. Pitting men, even if they identify themselves as female, against biological women in sports is patently unfair. This continues to be true even if biological male athletes suppress their testosterone levels with hormone therapy for a year. Research shows that once a biological male has gone through male puberty that his skeletal and muscular structure gives him a physical advantage over women in strength, speed, and endurance. 

“And this isn’t just about a game. Many girls rely on athletic scholarships to get into college. We should not allow biological males to rob a woman of her spot on a sports team, a medal she has earned, or a record she has achieved. We need more people with the courage to stand up and say as much.  

“We can’t let young girls continue to suffer just to stay on the ‘safe’ side of political correctness.

“There are young athletes who have spoken up and it is shameful what they were told by their schools. These girls were told to be quiet, or face being kicked off the team. They were told that if they speak publicly, they won’t get into grad school or find a job. This kind of intimidation is wrong. These girls deserve to be heard. 

“I urge my colleagues to support this substitute amendment and support the underlying bill, and I yield back.”

Watch the full remarks here.

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