TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The Kansas House of Representatives has passed a bill defining biological sex.

The House took a final action vote on Wednesday, passing the Senate Bill 180 at 83-41 with one Republican representative absent. Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins, Majority Leader Chris Croft and Speaker Pro Tem Blake Carpenter issued the following statement following the vote:

“The right to privacy, safety, and equal opportunity in a single-sex space is a basic protection that each female in Kansas deserves. However, this right is currently under threat by ideologues attempting to redefine common language in a manner that separates sex from biology therefore compromising the safety, privacy, and equal opportunity of females in Kansas.

Biological differences between the sexes leave females more physically vulnerable than males to specific forms of violence, including sexual violence. The Women’s Bill of Rights protects the right to privacy and safety for females in restrooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, prisons, locker rooms, and other areas where biology, safety, and/or privacy are involved.

“The passage of SB 180, The Women’s Bill of Rights, in the Kansas House, preserves current Kansas statutes that ensure access to women-only spaces is limited to biological females by establishing a legal definition of sex-based terms for the implementation of these laws.

“This legislation is essential in ensuring that decades of progress made by the Women’s Rights Movement is not hijacked and in order to protect the rights, safety, dignity and equal opportunity of biological women in our state.”

The bill defines words like “woman,” “man,” “mother,” and “father” based on biological sex. Supporters say it’s a step to protect women’s privacy in areas like sports, restrooms, locker rooms, and domestic violence centers. 

However, during floor debates, Democrats argued that the bill is aimed at attacking transgender youth in the state.

“It does nothing to protect women’s rights, but instead weaponizes the rhetoric of rights to erase protections for trans and non-binary people,” said Rep. Lindsay Vaugh, D-Overland Park.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, who vetoed a bill banning transgender athletes from women’s sports earlier this month, vowed to veto similar legislation moving forward in the Legislature. Kelly spoke during Equality Day at the Capitol on Tuesday. 

In an interview with the Kansas Capitol Bureau, D.C. Hiegert, a legal fellow at ACLU of Kansas, said the organization expects the bill defining biological sex to be vetoed as well. 

“Really, what it’s about is politicians getting in the way of parents, children, and their medical providers,” Hiegert said. 

The bill passed the House with amendments after the Senate voted to pass the bill 26-11 in February. It now goes back to the Senate for the body to decide whether to concur with the changes.