EXCLUSIVE: Oklahoma Sen. Jessica Garvin Files Women’s Bill Of Rights

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Female residents of Oklahoma could see their own “Bill of Rights” become law, according to legislation state Sen. Jessica Garvin introduced Monday.

OK SB408, known as the Women’s Bill of Rights, will “bring clarity, certainty, and uniformity” to Oklahoma law by officially defining “female” and “mother” and clarifying the protections for them under the law, according to the bill’s language.

If the bill passes, Oklahoma will legally define a “female” as a “natural person whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova” and a mother as a “female parent of a child or children.” Men will not be allowed in Oklahoma women’s “prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, athletics and locker rooms, and restrooms,” according to the bill.

Garvin told the Daily Caller that the Women’s Bill of Rights is a crucial step in protecting female privacy and safety. “There are states where there have been men who have been incarcerated, and then they decided to identify as female. That has obviously been problematic because it turns out some of these men have sexually abused women while incarcerated,” she said.

Under the law, men are ineligible to receive money from the federal government when there is a condition that the person be a female, like grants and loans for women business owners. Additionally, all state agencies or departments (including Oklahoma public school districts) are required to collect “vital statistics for the purpose of gathering accurate public health, crime, economic or other data shall identify any natural person who is part of the collected data as either male or female.”

“I’ve worked in healthcare for a long time. It is important that we have accurate data when it comes to women’s health – and men’s health too,” Garvin said. “If you have someone trying to research how breast cancer or heart disease impacts women or any major killer of women in Oklahoma, how can we adequately assess data if we don’t really know if these are biological males or biological females? I think that this bill is really important for data collection and research.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment. NCTE senior national organizer Devon Ojeda told Politico in December that the Women’s Bill of Rights, originally proposed by the Independent Women’s Forum, is “not about women’s rights.” (RELATED: Inspector Report Found Hundreds Of Chicago Teachers Allegedly Sexually Groomed, Raped Students)

“These women’s rights bills are not about women’s rights. People define women in different ways, and I think it will go beyond just excluding trans people. This hurts everybody because everybody deserves access to gender-affirming care. Everybody deserves to get to shape their identity,” Ojeda told Politico.

Jennifer Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said OK SB408 “does not eliminate the rights of anyone.”

“It in no way prevents the legislature from passing laws to protect trans-identified people from discrimination or from passing other laws regarding gender identity. It simply requires the legislature to be clear about its intentions and maintains sex as a distinct and immutable legal category,” Braceras said in a statement to the Daily Caller.

“This legislation is essential to stop unelected judges and bureaucrats from unilaterally changing the legal meaning of ‘sex’ and other sex-based words, such as male and female,” she said.

“To be clear, the Women’s Bill of Rights does not eliminate the rights of anyone. Nor does it create any new substantive rights for women. It simply (1) clarifies the meaning of current sex-based laws and (2) codifies longstanding precedent regarding single-sex spaces, affirming that policies and laws that distinguish between the sexes are subject to ‘intermediate’ constitutional scrutiny, which forbids unfair discrimination but allows the law to recognize sex differences in certain circumstances,” Braceras added.

The legislation will have plenty of support in the Oklahoma Senate once members get a chance to review all the bills introduced by state senators for the upcoming session, Garvin said, adding that an identical bill is expected to be introduced with equal support in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed SB2, Save Women’s Sports Act, on March 30, 2022, which he called “common sense” legislation. “What we are trying to accomplish here is very, very simple. We are protecting women’s sports,” Stitt said at the signing.

Gov. Stitt did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.