“Would that be women?” asked Hawley.
Bridges, who at the hearing had championed access to abortion care for all people at risk of pregnancy, explained that cisgender women, trans men and non-binary people can get pregnant.
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“Many cis women have the ability to conceive. Many cis women are unable to conceive,” Bridges said. “There are also trans men who are able to conceive and non-binary people who are able to conceive.”
“So this isn’t really a women’s rights issue?” replied Hawley.
Bridges explained to Hawley that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike… roe impacts on cisgender women as well as other groups. Those things, she said, are not mutually exclusive.
Some gender and reproductive rights experts use gender-neutral terms, including “people able to conceive” and “pregnant people” when discussing these issues, which illustrate that not only cisgender women are able to to conceive — and cisgender women aren’t the only ones affected by decisions to limit reproductive health care.
Hawley, however, doubled down on his questions, asking Bridges what the gist of her argument was.
Bridges then told the senator that his questioning was transphobic because he refused to recognize transgender people.
“It opens transgender people to violence by not recognizing them,” Bridges told Hawley.
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A skeptical Hawley then asked how his interrogation could lead to violence. Bridges responded by noting that 1 in 5 transgender people commit suicide.
According to a 2021 study by the Trevor Project, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, more than half of transgender and non-binary youth in the country have seriously considered committing suicide in the past year. The National Center for Transgender Equality has also reported that more than 1 in 4 transgender people have experienced bias. Just during the pandemic, calls to Trans Lifeline — a crisis telephone line staffed by transgender people — rose 40 percent.
“Do you believe men can get pregnant?” Bridges then asked Hawley.
“No, I don’t think so,” the senator replied.
“So you’re denying transgender people exist,” Bridges said.
As the confrontation escalated, Hawley asked Bridges if this is how she runs her classroom, telling students that they open people up to violence.
“We’re having a good time in my class,” Bridges replied. “You should join in. You may learn a lot from it.”
“I’d learn a lot,” Hawley replied mockingly. “I learned a lot from this exchange.”
The questioning then passed to another witness. But later Tuesday, Hawley shared a clip of the interaction on Twitter, accusing Democrats of being unwilling to participate in the debate.
“For today’s left, disagreement with them = violence,” hawley said: in the tweet. “So you shouldn’t disagree.”
Bridges did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exchange.