Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's line of questioning was called "transphobic" during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the legal consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Hawley asked Khiara Bridges, a professor at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, about a phrase she was using during the hearing. Bridges repeatedly said "people with a capacity for pregnancy” when describing people who can give birth.
“Would that be women,” Hawley asked.
“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 nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy," Bridges responded.
After being pressed on whether the abortion ruling is then a women's rights issue, Bridges said Hawley was being transphobic.
"I wanna recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic," she said. "And, it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them."
"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.
Bridges went on to list statistics about the high rate of suicide among transgender people and then questioned Hawley.
"Do you believe that men can get pregnant," Bridges asked.
"No, I don't think," Hawley said.
"So you are denying trans people exist," Bridges responded.
She then invited him to attend her class, saying he might "learn a lot."
In an apparent sarcastic tone, Hawley said he would learn a lot because he learned a lot during their exchange.