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Kristi NoemNBC News / YouTube

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PIERRE, South Dakota, March 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — South Dakota is just one of approximately two dozen states that are passing bills to ban transgender students from participating in middle and high school sports outside their biological sex. South Dakota HB 1217, which was delivered to Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on March 10, also covers sports in higher education under the Board of Regents. The bill includes at least six public universities in South Dakota.

The language of HB 1217 states in part, “A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex.”

Pressure from the left is mounting against the South Dakota legislation. South Dakota Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Lobbyist David Owen called House Bill 1217 “the worst bill that passed this session.” Owen argued that the bill “professes to protect women’s sports, but is really just a flat ban against transgender participation.”

Notorious leftist Alyssa Milano tweeted, “Across the country, 26 states have introduced over 75 bills attacking transgender people – primarily young people. Last week the South Dakota legislature voted to pass HB1217, which will ban trans girls from participating in sports. You MUST veto this bill, [Gov. Kristi Noem].”

The Associated Press reported, “More than 500 college athletes have signed a letter to the NCAA Board of Governors asking the organization to refuse to schedule championships in states that have banned transgender participation in sports.” Included in the letter were concerns that females would have to undergo “invasive physical exams or hormone tests in order to ‘prove’ their gender.”

Yet, nothing in HB 1217 indicates compulsory physical examinations to prove one’s gender. It only requires proof on a birth certificate.

Additionally, the text of the letter states, “All athletes deserve to compete. All athletes are worthy of protection. No athlete should feel unsafe being who they are.” The letter does not address the contradiction that including “all” athletes would necessarily mean lumping the desires of gender-dysphoric males to feel “safe” and “protected” together with the actual needs of female athletes to be safe and protected against real risk of injury against stronger males, not to mention other problems of inequity.

A similar bill in Mississippi argued this point. “As Duke Law Professor and All-American Track Athlete Doriane Coleman, Tennis Champion Martina Navratilova, and Olympic Track Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross recently wrote: ‘The evidence is unequivocal that starting in puberty, in every sport except sailing, shooting and riding, there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition. Claims to the contrary are simply a denial of science.’”

On March 8, Noem tweeted her support for the bill: “In South Dakota, we’re celebrating [International Women’s Day] by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.”

Three days later at a press conference, Noem said, “We are still examining the bill, getting ready to make decisions on it like we do with every other bill, and we’ll continue to move forward.” Her words have been interpreted by some to have a adopted a more measured tone amid mounting pressure.

Transgender protestors gathered outside the governor’s mansion after the press conference.

A protestor by the name of Seymour Otterman was quoted by the Rapid City Journal in opposition to the bill: “Trans people were here before white people were here … When you exclude trans people from society that is a loss for everyone …”

But Noem says she is not interested in excluding anybody so much as she is interested in preserving fairness in women’s supports.

“House Bill 1217 is about women’s sports and protecting women’s sports. It will ensure that girls participate in girls’ sports and going forward that that fairness is there that was promised by Title IX,” Noem said. “This bill isn’t about transgender, it’s about girls’ fairness in girls’ sports. So girls will be able to play in girls’ sports. If a girl chooses to want to play in a boys’ sport, that is still going to be allowed, there isn’t a definition here in regards to transgender individuals at all, it is about the fairness of Title IX and how it impacts girls’ sports.”

LifeSite created a petition (sign here) to help protect girls’ sports.