Author and attorney Abigail Shrier testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the “Equality Act” passed by the Democrat-run House is so “overbroad” that it allows non-transgender individuals to take advantage of it.
Shrier is the author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, a book that describes how teenage girls are being encouraged to undertake irreversible hormonal and surgical treatments to become transgender boys.
She has also written extensively about the problem of male-to-female transgender athletes competing in women’s sports, and testified Wednesday that the effects of hormones in puberty give boys a permanent physical advantage over women in most competitions.
Shrier noted that the Equality Act “allows for no nuance,” adding that the law, as written, allows “any male” to declare himself female “for any amount of time — in his senior year, perhaps, when he’s eyeing college scholarships.”
Asked by Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) whether criminals could use the Equality Act to enter girls’ runaway shelters because the bill is “overbroad and changes the legal definition of the word ‘sex’ in a way that erases women from anti-discrimination laws,” Shrier agreed with his concerns that there are “loopholes” that could allow men to exploit vulnerable women and girls.
“You don’t need to be transgender to take advantage of this act,” Shrier said adding: “The law is so overbroad that any male felon can announce he is female, make absolutely no changes, and transfer to a women’s prison.”
The Supreme Court takes arguments that a law is “overbroad” or “vague” very seriously. Laws that infringe on the First Amendment are frequently struck down because they are too broad to be limited to a specific set of circumstances, and potentially create a broader risk that freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom of assembly will be violated. Shrier’s testimony effectively signals to Senators that the Equality Act, if passed, will likely face a constitutional challenge.
Other witnesses noted the problem of the Equality Act’s conflict with religious freedom, as guaranteed by the First Amendment and bolstered by the bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The Equality Act specifically states that RFRA shall not be a defense to a claim of discrimination against the act, causing alarm among many religious groups.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) noted that Shrier’s point about non-transgender people using the letter of the law to pose a “real threat” to women, as in a prison setting, was one of the most important points about the vulnerability of the legislation.
Shrier added that a more “nuanced” solution to the problem of transgender athletes could involve retaining women’s sports and creating an “open” category, or urging men’s sports to be more open to biological men who identify as female. There were many options, she concluded, adding: “The problem with the Equality Act is that it wouldn’t allow any of them.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.