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Upside Down at The New York Times

The paper says female athletes need abortion to succeed, but males on women’s teams are supposedly no problem.
Christiana Kiefer
The paper says female athletes need abortion to succeed, but males on women’s teams are supposedly no problem.

Late June was emotionally brutal for sportswriters at The New York Times.

The staff’s dismay at efforts by international athletic officials to curtail male domination of women’s sports was only compounded by a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Fifty years ago, wrote Times sports columnist Kurt Streeter, “two pillars of equal rights for women became law. Now only one pillar remains standing.”

The second pillar he was referring to was Title IX, landmark legislation that promised equal opportunities for women in sports. Streeter was especially upset that Roe should be overturned amid Title IX anniversary celebrations. Like many abortion enthusiasts, he considers any effort to protect innocent life in the womb a threat to women’s physical and emotional autonomy.

“A through line,” he said, “connects the right to control one’s body with the empowerment and confidence that are currently sparking extraordinary success for women in sports.”

That’s a curious connection for a Times writer to make—but then, so is the paper’s enthusiasm for Title IX, given the publication’s wholehearted support for the male takeover of women’s sports teams. This takeover is fast undermining the “empowerment and confidence” Streeter speaks of, and sounding a potential death knell to that “extraordinary success for women in sports.”

Ultimately, the encroachment of biological males on women’s athletics may or may not be slowed by a recent decision by FINA (the federation charged with administering international swimming competitions) to bar male athletes from the female category unless those athletes began suppressing testosterone by early puberty.

With that decision, FINA openly embraced the conclusion other athletic organizations have tried frantically to avoid: that biology gives males an inevitable advantage in competition with females.

The Times fears that FINA’s policy will encourage other athletic organizations to adopt similar policies—effectively barring males from women’s sports. But while protecting fairness for female athletes is a laudable goal, FINA’s policy may prompt gullible parents and enterprising medical professionals to push increasingly younger children towards irreversible hormones and medical procedures that will harm them for life.

But, of course, that’s not what bothers the Times’ sportswriters. They’re more worried that FINA is responding to a nonexistent problem. They claim “there has been relatively little scientific research involving elite transgender athletes. And studies have not quantified testosterone’s precise impact on performance.” (Apparently, these officials aren’t watching the same videos as the rest of us.)

Nor are Times journalists concerned that women are being pushed out of their own sports. What is “competitive fairness,” they ask, compared to promoting inclusiveness?

They worry, instead, that FINA is recommending that males who identify as female begin competing with each other. That would be, in the words of one activist, “isolating, demeaning and … [make them] a spectacle on an international stage.” Because, apparently, no one should consider what is happening now a spectacle.

The Roe decision just piled on the despair. “By taking an ax to Roe v. Wade,” Streeter said, “the Supreme Court demolished a signal of freedom in the battle for gender equality—freedom that helped female athletes achieve glory that many now take for granted.”

You want to see freedom demolished? Look at the crestfallen faces of young women watching their years of work and dreams of athletic achievement fall to the culture’s new obsession with the sensibilities of young men who want to win and often cannot when competing against other men. So, some of these men embrace a new sexual identity, pushing aside the women who stand between them and their own selfish goals.

They are not unlike the women who—after embracing casual sexual activity—find their own personal aspirations impeded by the very human results. Like the male athletes, these women have an idea of what they want, find someone else in the way, and fall prey to the lie that it’s OK to demand the right to eliminate the one who competes with their personal goals.

But, alas, Roe has fallen. And that leaves only Title IX—a law that has brought “empowerment and confidence” to female athletes for half a century, and can continue to do so (The Times assures us) if only women will step aside for male desires … sacrifice the child in their womb for a chance at glory … and endorse the torture of that child … to set the next generation up for athletic success.

Yes, it was a tough week for the sports staff at The New York Times. But it’s nothing like what they have in mind for the rest of us.

As James 3:16 warns, where there is “selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” The right course, as Christians know and must ourselves remember, is not to sacrifice others on the altar of our own ambition, but instead seek the good of our neighbors (1 Corinthians 10:24)—even at great personal cost.

Christiana Holcomb
Christiana Kiefer
Senior Counsel
Christiana (Holcomb) Kiefer serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives.