During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Tuesday, a pro-abortion witness repeatedly used the phrase “people with the capacity for pregnancy” to describe “pregnant women,” prompting ridicule from conservatives on social media, and Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to say Democrats “have lost their minds.”
Hawley questioned University of California at Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges over her use of the absurd phrase after she uttered it five times in one minute during a back-and-forth with Senator John Cornyn.
“You used a phrase several times. I want to make sure I understand what you mean by it,” the Missouri Senator said. Bridges reacted to Hawley’s line of questioning by accusing him of opening transgender people to violence.
The senator began by asking Bridges if by “people with the capacity for pregnancy,” she meant “women.”
Adopting a snippy, professorial tone, Bridges responded that many “cis-women have the capacity for pregnancy” and that “many cis-women” are not able to get pregnant.
“There are also trans-men who are capable of pregnancy as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy,” she continued.
“So this isn’t really a women’s rights issue, it’s a what?” the seemingly confused Hawley asked.
Bridges responded that people can “recognize this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups.”
She added, “those things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley.”
“So, your view is that the core of this ‘right’ then is about what?” Hawley wondered.
Rather than answer the senator’s question, Bridges attempted to put him on the defensive.
“I want to recognize that your line of questioning is—um—transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them,” she charged.
“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?” Hawley responded dryly.
Bridges went on to cite suicide statistics in the trans community, and claimed the senator was “denying trans people exist.”
“I’m denying trans people exist by asking you if you’re talking about women having pregnancies?” Hawley asked as Bridges repeatedly cried, “are you?! are you?! are you?!”
“Do you believe that men can get pregnant?” the professor then asked Hawley.
Without missing a beat, the senator said “no, I don’t think men can get pregnant,” prompting Bridges to claim that he was “denying trans people exist.”
“And that leads to violence? Is this how you run your classroom? Are students allowed to question you?” asked Hawley, taken aback. “Or are they also treated like this? Where they’re told that they are opening up people to violence by questioning?”
“Oh we have a good time in my class, you should join,” Bridges shot back, adding “you might learn a lot.”
“Wow,” Hawley replied. “I would learn a lot,” he quipped, laughing. “I’ve learned a lot from this exchange,” he added, as Bridges loudly talked over him, saying, “I know! Absolutely!”
“Extraordinary!” Hawley exclaimed.
The fiery exchange came after Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn asked Bridges about the vast number of black babies that are aborted, and she repeatedly referred to pregnant women as “people with the capacity for pregnancy” in her answer.
Bridges said that she loves “black people with the capacity for pregnancy” but refused to say that an unborn baby has value.
When Cornyn called her out for not answering his question, she said, “I’m answering a question that is more interesting to me.”
Here’s the exchange that happened moments before with Cornyn where the witness used the phrase “person with a capacity for pregnancy” 5 times in one minute.pic.twitter.com/eYaOYumYSJ
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 12, 2022
After the tense exchange went viral, Hawley lashed out at Democrats on Fox News, calling them “extremists” who “have lost their minds.”
“The Democrats have become such extremists. Now their official line is men can get pregnant — and if you disagree, you’re violent,” Hawley said. “They have lost their minds and the whole country can see it.”