Physicians to Governor Noem: Back Science & Support the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

29 March 2021

Media Contact: 

Quentin Van Meter, MD, FCP, President 

(352) 376-1877

The American College of Pediatricians joined the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and dozens of national policy leaders in signing an open letter to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. The letter urges Governor Noem to support a bill like HB 1217, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports” Act, as originally passed by the state legislature. The bill will uphold Title IX in South Dakota because it enshrines the scientific definition of sex into law necessary to ensure the safe and fair participation of females in sports. 

Gov. Noem previously opted to partially veto the bill, removing key enforcement language and limiting its coverage to K-12 sports. In addition to her changes to the law, Noem announced that she intended to form a “coalition to defend Title IX,” the federal law that helped female athletes gain equal access to sports.

But state and national leaders have publicly decried Noem’s veto decision as weakening the bill and denying key protections to college athletes. And, they note, there already is a coalition to defend Title IX and save girls’ sports: this year, 30 state legislatures have considered legislation similar to South Dakota’s, and to date, three governors (Idaho, Mississippi, and Arkansas) have signed such bills into law. 

Today’s coalition letter articulates these concerns and emphasizes that Noem should support a bill like HB 1217 as originally passed by the South Dakota legislature. 

“The South Dakota legislature got it right with HB 1217,” states the coalition, “and your original excitement to sign it was on the mark. … We stand behind these legislators and South Dakota’s female athletes. Gutting the bill doesn’t help anyone win—it sends South Dakota and their girls and women back to the sidelines and sends the wrong signal to others across the country in the fight to save girls’ and women’s sports.”

The coalition hopes that Noem will ultimately choose to support a bill like HB 1217 as originally passed by the legislature.

The full coalition letter may be found here. 

The American College of Pediatricians Position Statement on Sex Differences is found here.

About the American College of Pediatricians

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a national medical association of licensed physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. It was founded by a group of concerned physicians who saw the need for a pediatric organization that would not be influenced by the politically driven pronouncements of the day. The mission of the ACPeds is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being. The ACPeds is committed to fulfilling its mission by producing sound policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and to influence society in the endeavor of childrearing. 

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