Witness accuses Sen. Hawley of transphobic questions during committee hearing

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on the legal aftermath of the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, law professor Khiara Bridges of the University of California, Berkeley, said the line of questioning by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was transphobic and “opens up trans people to violence.”

Video transcript

JOSH HAWLEY: Professor Bridges, you said several times-- 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?

KHIARA BRIDGES: 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.

JOSH HAWLEY: So this isn't really a women's rights issue. It's a--

KHIARA BRIDGES: We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups. Those things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley.

JOSH HAWLEY: So your view is is that the core of this right then is about what?

KHIARA BRIDGES: So I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.

JOSH HAWLEY: Wow. You're saying that I'm opening up people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancies?

KHIARA BRIDGES: So I want to note that one out of five transgender persons have attempted suicide. So I think it's important--

JOSH HAWLEY: Because of my line of questioning?

KHIARA BRIDGES: Because--

JOSH HAWLEY: So we can't talk about it?

KHIARA BRIDGES: Because denying that trans people exist and pretending not to know that they exist--

JOSH HAWLEY: I'm denying that trans people exist by asking--

KHIARA BRIDGES: Are you?

JOSH HAWLEY: --if you're talking about--

KHIARA BRIDGES: Are you?

JOSH HAWLEY: --about women--

KHIARA BRIDGES: Are you?

JOSH HAWLEY: --having pregnancies?

KHIARA BRIDGES: Do you believe that men can get pregnant?

JOSH HAWLEY: No, I don't think men can get pregnant.

KHIARA BRIDGES: So you are denying that trans people exist.

JOSH HAWLEY: And that leads to violence? Is this how you run your classroom? Are students allowed to question you or--

KHIARA BRIDGES: Absolutely.

JOSH HAWLEY: --are they also treated like this, where they're--

KHIARA BRIDGES: No, no, no. They're allowed to question me.

JOSH HAWLEY: --opening up people to violence--

KHIARA BRIDGES: We have a good time in--

JOSH HAWLEY: By questioning?

KHIARA BRIDGES: --my class. You should join me.

JOSH HAWLEY: I bet.

KHIARA BRIDGES: You might learn a lot.

JOSH HAWLEY: Wow, I would learn a lot. I've learned a lot just in--

KHIARA BRIDGES: I know.

JOSH HAWLEY: --this exchange.

KHIARA BRIDGES: Absolutely.

JOSH HAWLEY: Extraordinary.

KHIARA BRIDGES: Yep.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting