Khiara M. Bridges—a law professor at the University of California Berkeley—criticized Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the overturning of Roe v. Wade, calling him "transphobic" to his face during a particularly tense exchange.
Hawley had criticized Bridges for referring to "people with a capacity for pregnancy" as being affected by abortion rather than women. He seemed visibly upset when she said she wanted to “recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic and it opens up trans people to violence.”
Hawley pushed back when Bridges said he is “pretending [trans people] don’t exist"—even though he responded "no" to her question as to whether he believes men can get pregnant.
You can watch what happened in the video below.
Notable within the exchange were Bridges' remarks to Hawley about the benefits of using inclusive language, pointing out that it is possible to "recognize that [abortion] impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups."
Bridges noted that "Those things are not mutually exclusive," a worthwhile reminder to both politicians and the viewing audience as the nation continues to reel from last month's news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade—the 1973 landmark decision that once protected a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Anyone who has a uterus and ovaries can become pregnant and give birth to a child.
People who are born male and living as men cannot get pregnant. However, a transgender man or nonbinary person might be able to get pregnant.
But because it is only possible for a person to be pregnant if they have a uterus, it would be incorrect to suggest that people who are born male and living as men can get pregnant.
Male reproductive organs do not include a uterus.
It is also important to remember that the terms "man" and "woman" refer to a person's gender, which refers to the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity and masculinity.
Many have criticized Hawley and praised Bridges for speaking out.
Hawley was slammed in April for suggesting women who've had hysterectomies, a procedure that involves the surgical removal of the uterus, aren't women.
Hawley made the remarks during an interview with The Huffington Post, which asked several Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to define the word "woman," a callback to GOP questions for Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson during her recent Supreme Court Senate confirmation hearing.
Hawley offered a shallow answer, suggesting womanhood is tied to a woman's ability to give birth to a child.
Republicans have been preoccupied with the definition of "woman" since a widely talked about moment shortly after confirmation hearings for Jackson kicked off.
When asked for a definition for the word "woman," Jackson, who Democratic President Joe Biden nominated and who has now been officially confirmed and appointed to replace the outgoing Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, told Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn that she could not because "in this context, I’m not a biologist.”
The preoccupation with the word "woman" and gender overall is a further example of how transgender issues have recently galvanized the far right, taking a spot at the forefront of attacks conservatives have directed toward the LGBTQ+ community in what has become one of the more defining elements of the culture wars.