Josh Hawley has tense exchange with Berkeley professor over 'transphobic' pregnancy question

"I want to recognize that your line of questioning is, um, transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing that," she said

Updated: July 12, 2022 - 4:44pm

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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Tuesday had a tense exchange with a Berkley law professor who accused him of attacking her with a "transphobic" line of questioning.

"You've used a phrase I want to make sure I understand what you mean by it. You've referred to people with a capacity for pregnancy, would that be women?" Hawley asked Professor Khiara Bridges during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion. 

Bridges teaches classes such as Family Law and Reproductive Rights and Justice and her publications include "The Dysgenic State: Environmental Injustice and Disability-Selective Abortion Bans" as well as "Critical Race Theory: A Primer."

The professor took off her mask to respond to Hawley's question during the hearing as she listed other groups that are "capable of pregnancy."

"Many women, cis-women, have the capacity for pregnancy. Many cis-women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. Um, there are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy, as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy," she responded. 

"So this isn't really a women's rights issue, it's a, what?" Hawley followed-up.

"We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups. Those things are not mutually exclusive, Sen. Hawley," Bridges replied.

"I want to recognize that your line of questioning is, um, transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing that," she accused.

"Wow, so you're saying I'm opening up people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancies?" he asked.

"So, I want to note that one out of five transgender persons have attempted suicide, so I think it's important for us –" Bridges stated before Hawley interrupted.

"Because of my line of questioning? So we can't talk about it?" he asked.

"Because denying that transpeople exist and pretending to not know that they exist is –" she said.

The two began to talk over each other as Hawley asked, "I'm denying that trans people exist by asking you if you're arguing about women having pregnancies?"

"Are you? Are you? Are you?" Bridges repeatedly asked while Hawley spoke.

The Senator asked whether this was how she treated students in her class and Bridges in turn invited him to join.

Hawley posted a clip of the heated exchange on Twitter with the caption, "The Democrats say what they really think: men can get pregnant and if you disagree, you are 'transphobic' and responsible for violence."

He added, "For today’s left, disagreement with them = violence. So you must not disagree."

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