“H.R. 5 — in the words of a Women’s Liberation Front leader — nullifies “women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protection.” It could endanger millions of American women, undermine fundamental American rights to faith in both religion and science and actively put children at risk by medicalizing them in harmful, permanent ways — without parental involvement.”
WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following statement on the House floor regarding H.R. 5.
Below are the remarks as prepared.
Ranking Member Collins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Democrats are pushing this bill through the House so quickly, it suggests they know it wouldn’t fare well under full scrutiny. After considering only four amendments at committee — and rejecting each of them, including three that simply added rules of construction — Chairman Nadler requested the House consider this bill under a closed rule, and his request was granted. Now, we can disagree on policy, but it’s hard to argue this bill wouldn’t be improved by full debate about what the bill says and consideration of as many amendments as possible.
Americans can all agree. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. No one should be mistreated by his or her employers, coworkers or anyone else. However, when lawmakers propose amendments to federal law, we must avoid doing more harm than good. We must not pass legislation that harms children, sets back the rights women have fought so hard to attain or erases the gains made possible by other federal civil rights laws, such as Title IX. H.R. 5 does all of these things. This bill would do much more harm than good, and women and children would bear the brunt of the damage.
Consider female sports. Last year, two male athletes won the top two spots in the Connecticut girls Class S Indoor Track Meet. Female athlete Selina Soule, who finished eighth, missed an opportunity to compete in front of college coaches by two places. In Selina’s words, “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing.”
Allowing men to compete against women in women’s sports isn’t demoralizing because female athletes like Selina aren’t talented; it’s demoralizing because it makes their talent irrelevant.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova explained the threat H.R. 5 poses to women’s sports: “Unless you want to completely remake what Women’s Sports means, there can be no blanket inclusion rule. There is nothing stereotypical about this — it’s about fairness and it’s about science.”
If H.R. 5 becomes law, our daughters and others will be asking us, “What did you do, when it counted, to protect girls and women’s sports?” It’s worth considering that question now, before it’s too late.
Never before in American history has one political party tried to so dramatically rewrite federal civil rights laws to include an undefined, self-referential, ideologically driven term — “gender identity” – in the U.S. Code, applicable to literally any entity that receives federal financial assistance, including elementary schools, colleges and health care centers nationwide.
H.R. 5 would make self-reporting of gender identity a protected class under federal law and require doctors and educators to blindly follow the self-reporting of adolescents and young adults. Health care protocols and even state laws would be no defense, as they would be superseded by this federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
We’ve heard proponents of H.R. 5 call people who oppose it ignorant, bigoted, oppressive or hateful. I will not make similar character assassinations against my friends across the aisle.
Instead, Mr. Speaker, I implore my colleagues to listen to the stories of every stakeholder here, including the transgender girls and boys this bill is meant to help — because we may be hurting them by allowing doctors to prescribe hormones and perform major surgeries on adolescents without parental consent or involvement. In fact, H.R. 5 would actually compel doctors to medicalize children without consulting their parents. Families of transgender children are begging Congress to listen before we leap.
H.R. 5 also endangers the First Amendment rights of every single American. Because this bill makes no provision for sincerely-held religious belief, it would criminalize fundamental tenets of major world religions, including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Biological sex is a scientific reality, yet H.R. 5 would target faith traditions that acknowledge it as such and want to live their own lives accordingly.
Today, we must listen to all Americans, including the LGBT community, and recognize many within that community also have concerns about this legislation. H.R. 5 — in the words of a Women’s Liberation Front leader — nullifies “women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protection.” It could endanger millions of American women, undermine fundamental American rights to faith in both religion and science and actively put children at risk by medicalizing them in harmful, permanent ways — without parental involvement.
I urge all my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill, which was rushed to the floor without members having the opportunity to vote on amendments. It’s being considered under a closed rule that belies the majority’s own insecurity about this legislative text. All members who support fair deliberation and want to avoid unintended, irreversible consequences, should oppose this bill.