Don’t ignore the costs here — because they’re steep. H.R. 5 erases civil rights protections for biological women and sets the stage for children to fall victim — in permanent, unprecedented ways — to the confusion that often characterizes adolescence.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following statement at today’s hearing on H.R. 5.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Ranking Member Doug Collins: Mr. Chairman, as we talk about an incredibly weighty issue today, I’m noting the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border rages on, and this committee has done nothing to address the danger to migrant children and American citizens.

Everyone here can agree there is much suffering in our world. Today, we have the opportunity and obligation to listen to people with different perspectives on how to address it. As we do that, we stand on the shoulders of the civil rights heroes who fought before us. Like two of my colleagues here, I’m from the Atlanta area, and I’ve watched, over my lifetime, as our country has recognized and responded to the disadvantages historically borne by racial minorities and women.

We are not here today to betray the Civil Rights Act, but to uphold its ideals. There is no doubt in my mind that men, women and children who experience gender dysphoria suffer deeply. Unfortunately, the legislation we’re considering would harm countless people who understand themselves to be transgender and would demolish the hard-won rights of women, putting them once again at the mercy of any biological man who identifies, at any moment, as a woman.

The biological differences between the sexes remain scientific and certain. Men are physically stronger and faster than women, which has made it necessary for women to have access to clear legal protections. When any man can enter into protected spaces and statuses by identifying as a woman, as noted by a Women’s Liberation Front leader, H.R. 5 nullifies “women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protection.” The bill privileges the rights of men who identify as women over biological women and girls.

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. 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.”

In fact, H.R. 5 ignores fairness and denies science in order to codify stereotypes and sexism. If a man who adopts mannerisms associated with women can receive every federal protection afforded to women, we’ve reduced womanhood to a set of stereotypes — the same stereotypes some men have chronically exploited for social, professional and political advantage. H.R. 5 plays into tropes that hurt women and girls across every dimension of society, and it would give those stereotypes the trump card whenever tension arises between the rights of a transgender person and the rights of a biological woman.

The damage H.R. 5 would inflict on vulnerable Americans isn’t limited to women. Administering chemotherapy to a healthy, cancer-free patient is malpractice, but H.R. 5 could compel doctors to prescribe hormones and perform major surgeries on adolescents based on their gender identity rather than their biological gender or medical condition.

Under this bill, adolescents who can’t decide what major to pursue in college would be empowered to force doctors — bound by anti-discrimination laws — to administer hormones that could render these children sterile and conduct irreversible surgeries. Mothers and fathers who have watched their children deteriorate physically and emotionally as they transition away from their biological sex are begging Congress to listen before we leap.

Don’t ignore the costs here — because they’re steep. H.R. 5 erases civil rights protections for biological women and sets the stage for children to fall victim — in permanent, unprecedented ways — to the confusion that often characterizes adolescence. If Democrats are determined to move this legislation forward, they must acknowledge it automatically privileges the rights of biological men over the rights of biological women. This bill will cause suffering that is far-reaching and, in many cases, enduring.

Though women and children have historically been uniquely vulnerable, Democrats are condemning people who advocate for their rights and against H.R. 5 as bigoted. The ideology driving H.R. 5 is content to see women, lesbians and families become the collateral damage of identity politics that has no basis in science.

I ask my friends across the aisle not to peddle the notion that, under H.R. 5, everybody wins. There will be many losers because H.R. 5 bows to political expedience that silences calls for fairness, flouts science and has no compassion for the women and children it marginalizes.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.