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News Analysis Mar 31, 2021 5:30 AM EST

CNN claims there's no 'consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth'

CNN writes "...there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth."

CNN claims there's no 'consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth'
Katie Daviscourt Seattle, WA

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

A news article posted by CNN claims outright that there's no way to know a baby's biological sex at birth. Yes, this story was classified as news. No, the claim is not even remotely accurate.

The story, by Devan Cole, is about the new executive order signed by Governor Kristi Noem in South Dakota that bars biological males from competing in women's and girls' athletics. It reads:

"The orders also reference "biological sex," a disputed term that refers to the sex as listed on students' original birth certificates. ?It's not possible to know a person's gender identity at birth, and there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth."

That is a false claim, and one that is not based in medical science at all. Babies are classed as either male or female based on the existence of their genitalia.

Cole was writing about the new orders signed by Noem, who signed the orders after she reached a point of impasse with the South Dakota legislature over House Bill 1217, which would have essentially done the same thing as her orders. Noem's issue with the legislature's bill required high schools to collect information from students about their sex at birth and prohibit transgender participation in extracurricular activities grouped by sex.

Social media noted the false claims in CNN story near instantly. David Reaboi wrote that it was "INSANITY," pointing out that this was not an opinion piece by Cole, but actually a news story.

According to CNN, the news network that now self-identifies as experts on sex and gender, referencing the harms of the participation of "males" in women's athletics is transphobic.

"Though the two executive orders signed by Noem do not explicitly mention transgender athletes, they reference the supposed harms of the participation of "males" in women's athletics—an echo of the transphobic claim, cited in other similar legislative initiatives, that transgender women are not women," wrote Cole.

Journalist and author Jesse Singal wrote "I can't get over this... In a new story. Not a column."

Transgender rights activists routinely use the phrase "sex assigned at birth," but the idea that biological sex is something made up by doctors to oppress babies from being able to choose their own sex is not supported by biological or medical science.

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