Sen. Hawley called transphobic in heated exchange with Berkeley professor over pregnancy

Sen. Hawley called transphobic in heated exchange with Berkeley professor over pregnancy

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Sen. Josh Hawley and a law professor from Berkeley engaged in a heated back-and-forth about who can get pregnant at a Senate hearing on abortion Tuesday, with the teacher accusing the Republican of pursuing a “transphobic” line of questioning.

The Missouri Republican was questioning Khiara Bridges at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the abortion restriction case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that led the Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade last month. ​

The testy exchange began when Hawley said he wanted to “clear one thing up” and ​asked Bridges ​if she meant women when she ​used the phrase “people with a capacity for pregnancy​.​”

Bridges said that “many women, cis women, have the capacity for pregnancy. Many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy.”

Is abortion a “women’s right issue” Hawley asked her.

“We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups, those things are not mutually exclusive, Sen. Hawley,” said Bridges, who was testifying as an expert in race and reproductive rights.

The senator then asked what she believed was the “core of this right.”

“I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic,” she responded. “It opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.”

“Wow,” Hawley responded.

“You’re saying that I’m going to get people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancy,” he continued.

Bridges then pointed out that one in five transgender people have committed suicide, “so I think that’s important.”

“Because of my line of questioning?” Hawley asked. “So we can’t talk about it?”

“Because denying that trans people exist and pretending not to know that they exist …” she said as Hawley broke in.

“I’m denying that trans people exist by asking you if you’re talking about women having pregnancies?” he said. 

“Are you?” Bridges shot back, adding “So you believe that men cannot get pregnant?”

“No, I don’t think that men can get pregnant,” Hawley said. 

“Then you are denying that trans people exist,” she said. “Thank you.”

“And that leads to violence?” Hawley questioned. 

He continued by asking Bridges “is this how you run your classroom. Are students allowed to question you?”

“We have a good time in my class. You should join,” she said. 

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