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Multiple prominent media figures took the side of Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges, who accused Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) of being "transphobic" because he does not believe that men can get pregnant in a viral clip on Tuesday.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade, Bridges repeatedly used the torturous phrase "people with a capacity for pregnancy" as a gender-neutral substitute for "women." When Hawley called her out on it, highlighting the absurdity of erasing the word "women" from a discussion on abortion rights, Bridges told him that his "line of questioning is transphobic."
Bridges said Hawley was "denying that trans people exist" and opening them up to violence because he would not recognize "that men can get pregnant."
Some supposedly objective media outlets revealed which side they took in their coverage of the back-and-forth.
The Washington Post said Hawley "refused to acknowledge that some transgender men can get pregnant," which is inaccurate. Hawley never said that "transgender men" can't get pregnant — his position is that "transgender men" are women, because women are the only people who can get pregnant.
\u201cThis @washingtonpost news story hits @HawleyMO for \u201crefusing to acknowledge\u201d men can get pregnant\n\nWe need a total and complete shutdown of WaPo until we figure out what is going on\u201d— Brent Scher (@Brent Scher) 1657677316
Most mainstream news headlines reported that Hawley was "called" or "accused" of asking "transphobic" questions, framing the story more neutrally. But a CNN video used the headline, "Hawley called out for 'transphobic' questions," which adopted the left's view of the exchange.
The U.K. Independent had more direct bias, writing that Bidges "rebuked" Hawley for his "transphobic" questions.
"In a series of extraordinary testimony to a Senate committee on the future of abortion in the US after the dissolve of Roe v Wade, an abortion rights advocate and law professor issued a sharp rebuke to Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who appeared to dismiss that transgender people could become pregnant," the Independent reported.
Meanwhile, progressive media declared unambiguous victory for Bridges over Hawley, who they insisted "got owned."
Salon and HuffPo each ran headlines that insisted the Missouri Republican was "schooled." Jezebel published a video titled, "Berkeley Law Professor Eviscerates Sen. Josh Hawley at Post-Roe Hearing." Heartland Signal said Hawley was "put in place" by Bridges.
"Bridges’s concerns reflect the fact that lawmakers’ political attacks on trans people — including denying their existence, and using legislation to limit their freedom of movement, access to activities, and availability of health care — have coincided with an increase in physical violence," Li Zhou wrote for Vox. "According to a 2021 Time report, anti-trans violence has surged in the wake of an increase in legislation targeting trans people. A 2021 UCLA report also found that trans people, particularly Black and brown trans people, were significantly more likely to be victims of violent crime than cis people."
Progressives on Twitter also praised Bridges and mocked Hawley.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Hawley "feigned shock at the recognition that he incites violence."
\u201cThank you for your service, Professor Bridges\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\n\nAlso lol @ Hawley\u2019s feigned shock at the recognition that he incites violence. The man raised a fist w/ Jan 6th-ers who yelled \u201cHang Mike Pence\u201d & fundraised off it.\n\nNow he wants to be all \u201cMe?? Opening people to violence??\ud83d\ude24\u201d\u201d— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1657651252
"KA-BLOW" tweeted Imani Gandy, the senior editor of law and policy for Rewire News Group, after Bridges declared Hawley was denying transgender people exist because he doesn't think men can get pregnant.
\u201cHawley: Are you saying I'm transphobic.\n\nBridges: your line of questioning is. Denying their existence leads to violence. \n\nHawley: I'm not denying they exist.\n\nBridges: Do you believe men can get pregnant?\n\nHawley: No.\n\nBridges: Then you're denying they exist.\n\nKA-BLOW\u201d— \u2693\ufe0fImani Two-Kitchens Gandy\u2693\ufe0f (@\u2693\ufe0fImani Two-Kitchens Gandy\u2693\ufe0f) 1657641538
Many others ridiculed Hawley for his supposed embarrassment by a professor who thinks men can be women and women can be men, rendering the distinctions between the two sexes meaningless.
But Stephen Porter, the assistant editor for USA Today Opinion, urged progressives, "Don't feign ignorance about Sen. Josh Hawley's 'questions.'"
"He was making a statement. His claim? That trans men & nonbinary people who can get pregnant are ~actually~ women. He's asserting that their reproductive organs define their gender," Porter tweeted.
"That's literally ✨transphobic✨," he said.
\u201cDon\u2019t feign ignorance about Sen. Josh Hawley\u2019s \u201cquestions.\u201d He was making a statement. His claim? That trans men & nonbinary people who can get pregnant are ~actually~ women. He\u2019s asserting that their reproductive organs define their gender. \n\nThat\u2019s literally \u2728transphobic\u2728.\u201d— Steven Porter (@Steven Porter) 1657688124
In a lengthy thread, Porter went on to say that Hawley "derives some inhumane political benefit" from making "transphobic comments." He demanded that people "sympathetic to Hawley's message" but who don't want to be labeled transphobic "show us what you think it means to treat transgender people with kindness, dignity & respect."
\u201cMaybe you object to the \u201corthodoxy\u201d of trans-inclusive language. Then show us how to speak thoughtfully about reproductive health care for people who have the capacity to get pregnant & don\u2019t identify as women. Show us a better way.\u201d— Steven Porter (@Steven Porter) 1657688124
Responding to the hysterics Wednesday morning, Hawley told Fox News that Democrats "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."
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