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Missouri Republicans Refuse to Believe That Some Transgender Men Could Get Pregnant


Sen. Hawley accused of transphobic questioning in abortion hearing

Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on the legal implications of the end of Roe v. Wade, was accused by a congressional witness of employing a transphobic line of questioning.

Hawley asked Khiara M. Bridges, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, what he was talking about when he talked about “people with potential for pregnancy.”

“Will they be women?” Hawley asked.

Bridges, who during the hearing defended access to abortion care for all those at risk of pregnancy, explained that cisgender women, trans men, and non-binary people can become pregnant.

“Many cis women have the ability to conceive. Many cis women do not have the ability to conceive,” Bridges said. “There are trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy.”

“So this isn’t really an issue of women’s rights?” Holly replied.

Bridges explained to Hawley that the Supreme Court’s decision to remove Roe affects cisgender women as well as other groups. That said, those things are not mutually exclusive.

Some experts on gender and reproductive rights use gender-neutral terms, including “people of pregnancy potential” and “pregnant people” when talking about these issues, which helps to illustrate that not only cisgender women have the potential to become pregnant – and cisgender women are not the only ones to be affected by decisions to restrict reproductive health care.

Hawley, however, doubled down on his question, asking Bridges what was the core of his argument.

Bridges then told the senator that his line of questioning was transphobic because he was refusing to accept transgender people.

Bridges told Hawley, “It opens up trans people to violence by not identifying them.”

A skeptical Hawley then asked how his interrogation could lead to violence. Bridges replied that 1 in 5 transgender people commit suicide.

More than half of transgender and non-binary youth in the country seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, according to a 2021 study by the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ rights advocacy organization. The National Center for Transgender Equality also reports that more than 1 in 4 transgender people has faced a prejudice-motivated attack. During the pandemic, calls to the Trans Lifeline – a crisis telephone line staffed by transgender people – rose 40 percent.

“Do you believe men can get pregnant?” Bridges asked Holly again.

“No, I don’t think so,” replied the senator.

“So you’re denying that trans people exist,” Bridges said.

As the confrontation escalated, Holly asked Bridges if she conducts her class this way, telling the students that they were “opening people up to violence.”

“We’re having a great time in our class,” Bridges replied. “You must be involved. You can learn a lot.”

“I’ll learn a lot,” Hawley replied jokingly. “I learned a lot from this exchange.”

Thereafter, the hearing shifted to another witness. But later on Tuesday, Hawley shared a clip of the conversation on Twitter, accusing Democrats of being reluctant to participate in the debate.

“For today’s leftists, disagreement with them = violence,” Hawley said in the tweet. “So you shouldn’t disagree.”

Bridge did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exchange.


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