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AG Kris Kobach issues formal opinion on Women's Bill of Rights

Release Date: Jun 26, 2023
TOPEKA - (June 26, 2023) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach today announced a formal opinion that provides guidance on the Women’s Bill of Rights, which becomes law on July 1. He was flanked by state Sen. Renee Erickson, Reps. Tory-Marie Blew, and Barb Wasinger, and the Kansas Solicitor General Anthony Powell.

The Women’s Bill of Rights codifies a legal definition of "woman" in state statute. Erickson, Blew, and Wasinger helped carry the Women’s Bill of Rights legislation, SB 180.

The Attorney General opinion requires the Kansas Department of Revenue to list individuals’ biological sex at birth on driver’s licenses. It requires the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to list a person’s biological sex at birth on birth certificates, and it requires that only biological females be housed in a specific portion of the Topeka Correctional Facility.

“State records must be accurate and reflect the truth as defined in state law. A birth certificate is a record of what happened at the moment a baby came out of the womb. That baby weighed a specific amount and was a specific sex,” Kobach said. “Similarly, a driver’s license is a state document reflecting a state database for state purposes. It is not a canvas on which a person can paint one’s expression and preferences.”

Erickson said “The truth matters. You can choose whatever name you want. You can present yourself however you want, but state records reflect the truth.”

Wasinger said, “Women are being erased in the record books. Women need the protection of Title IX, and we need the protection of SB 180.”

Blew said, “It is bizarre that this is controversial, and for most Kansans, it is not. For most of human history, everyone understood the difference between a man and a woman.”

The Attorney General’s Office notified the state departments of revenue, health and environment and corrections prior to the press conference. Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed SB 180, but lawmakers overrode her veto.

“Just as I must defend every Kansas law whether I agree with it or not, the governor must execute the law whether she agrees with it or not,” Kobach said. “We expect the Governor’s office and her agencies to conform to the law.”

Read the formal opinion here.

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