Press Release: Governor Abbott Celebrated Save Women’s Sports Law with NCAA Swimmers Riley Gaines & Paula Scanlan

Denton, TX – August 7, 2023: Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivered remarks at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame on the Texas Woman’s University campus in Denton, TX at 2p.m. to celebrate signing into law SB 15, the bipartisan supported Texas College Save Women’s Sports Act that ensures that men do not compete in women’s sports at the college level in Texas. Texas Values was the leading law and policy organization in the state of Texas in helping pass SB 15 this legislative session, and as well as the Save Girls Sports law, HB 25 in the 2021 legislative session. Texas joins over 20 other states that have passed similar laws.

Governor Abbott was joined by NCAA swimmers and spokespersons Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan, Texas college basketball player Kassidy Comer, and many other female collegiate athletes. Riley Gaines is known for her activism to protect female athletes after she was forced to swim against and give her trophy to male swimmer Lia “Will” Thomas, who formerly swam on the men’s team at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Paula Scanlan is a University of Pennsylvania swimmer who competed on the same team as Lia “Will” Thomas after Thomas decided to compete on the women’s team. Both athletes will be featured speakers at the ceremony. The International Swimming Federation known as (FINA) recently released new rules that will effectively ban Thomas from competing in the women’s competition.

Mary Elizabeth Castle, Director of Government Relations for Texas Values who worked on both the Save Girls Sports Act from 2021 and the Save Women’s Sports Act of 2023 said: 

“I am grateful for Governor Abbott’s leadership on making the protection of women and girls in sports a priority for the state of Texas since 2021. Today, our state can celebrate the fact that all female athletes, from grade school to college, can fairly compete in sports without the concern of losing their trophies, records, scholarships, or careers to men. Having a ceremony for the women’s sports bill on a Texas college campus sends a strong message to Texas schools and the Biden administration that our state will do whatever it takes to guarantee fair play for college women athletes.”

Riley Gaines, NCAA Swimmer and IWF spokesperson said:

“I am thankful to Governor Greg Abbott for supporting women and girls at all levels of competitive sport – including collegiate athletes. By signing the Save Women’s Sports Act, Governor Abbott has sent a powerful message to Texans and to all Americans that we must protect the female category in sport if women and girls are to have equal athletic opportunities required by law.”

Kassidy Comer, basketball player at Texas college Midwestern State University Texas (MSU) said:

“As someone who has seen the apparent differences in playing with men and women, I cannot express enough gratitude to Governor Abbott and all of the Texas legislature who got this bill passed. Protecting women and girls in sports ensures equal opportunity to excel in the sports that we love. Thank you, Governor Abbott!”

Riley Gaines was instrumental in helping pass SB 15 at the Texas Capitol by testifying at hearings in both the Texas Senate and Texas House. She also participated in press conferences and rallies at the Texas state capitol. Texas Values was the leading organization in making sure that female athletes in Texas had a voice at the state capitol and helping to pass SB 15 in order to have full protection of female athletes from K-12 throughout college.

Many Texas female athletes will be present at the ceremony including: Noelle Fitchett, former MSU Texas basketball player Kassidy Comer, Jen Evans, and more to be announced. Young Women for America representative and college volleyball player Macy Petty will be present at the ceremony as well.

To read more about the Save Women’s Sports movement in Texas, please visit

Members of the Texas Values team will be attending the ceremony and are available for comment. Contact


About Texas Values

Texas Values is the largest statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at

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