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 Michael Goodin / The Daily Signal

PHOENIX, March 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Arizona House voted 31-29 Tuesday to pass legislation ensuring that female school athletes will only compete against other females rather than gender-confused boys who claim to be girls.

House Bill 2706, the “Save Women's Sports Act,” would allow participants in high-school girls and college women’s athletics to dispute the biological sex of an athlete they suspect of actually being male, who would then have to produce a signed doctor’s statement confirming that genetic testing has identified them as female, CBS 5 reported. Accusers would also be shielded from retaliation.

“Women are being displaced in their own sport. The playing field is no longer level,” said Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto, the bill’s author.

Calling the proposed requirement “cruel,” opponents of the bill claim it could open up transgender students to bullying – a charge Barto rejects.

“I would say they're really not looking at the true motive of the bill. It's not singling out anybody and it frankly doesn't discriminate or ban anybody from playing sports,” she said, noting that biologically-male athletes could still play on either boys’ teams or participate in coed sports.

Last June, the Journal of Medical Ethics published a paper concluding that “healthy young men (do) not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen (men) afforded by the (International Olympic Committee) guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

Such findings are consistent with those of organizations like USA Powerlifting, which contends that “men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women. These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone, do not go away. While MTF (male-to-female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than (sic) of a female.”

Nevertheless, grouping athletes based on their claimed “gender identity” is increasingly common – and contentious – in the United States and around the world, with many female athletes objecting that they are being denied records and victories meant to denote excellence among actual females.

HB 2706 now advances to the majority-GOP Arizona Senate for consideration. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has not yet said whether he would sign it into law.