WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A professor accused Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., of being transphobic when he pressed her on who exactly has the capacity to get pregnant.
"I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them," Bridges told Sen. Hawley.
Bridges' testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing sought to address the issue of abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
The California professor was testifying on so-called reproductive rights when she used the phrase "people with a capacity for pregnancy," prompting Hawley to question her.
"You've referred to 'people with a capacity for pregnancy.' Would that be women?" Sen. Hawley probed.
Bridges reaffirmed her progressive beliefs: "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."
The Missouri senator pressed, "So this isn't really a women's rights issue. It's … it's what?"
Bridges defended her words before accusing Hawley of being "transphobic."
"We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups," she replied. "Those things are not mutually exclusive, Sen. Hawley. I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic, and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them."
Sen. Hawley replied, "You're saying that I'm opening up people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancies?"
Bridges retorted, "I want to note that one out of five transgender persons have attempted suicide. Denying that trans people exist and pretending not to know that they exist is dangerous."
Questioning how his moral beliefs correlated with transgender suicide rates, Hawley asked, "Because of my line of questioning? So we can't talk about it?"
Bridges turned the question around on Hawley, asking, "Do you believe that men can get pregnant?"
With a smirk, Sen. Hawley responded, "No! I don't think men can get pregnant."
As Bridges continued to assert that his belief leads to violence, the senator asked, "Is this how you run your classroom? Are students allowed to question you, or are they also treated like this, where they're told that they're opening up people to violence by questioning?"
Following the heated exchange, Hawley posted on Twitter, "The Democrats say what they really think: Men can get pregnant, and if you disagree, you are 'transphobic' and responsible for violence."
Jesuit Fr. James Martin, known for his pro-LGBT messaging, sympathized with Bridges' comments to Sen. Hawley.
On Twitter, Martin commented, "It's hard for some people to hear about, much less understand, the transgender experience. But if nothing else is news to you in this clip, I hope you hear Professor Bridges' statistic that 1 in 5 transgender people attempt suicide. In many places, LGBTQ issues are life issues."
It's hard for some people to hear about, much less understand, the transgender experience. But if nothing else is news to you in this clip, I hope you hear Professor Bridges statistic that 1 in 5 transgender people attempt suicide. In many places LGBTQ issues are life issues. https://t.co/9T4aYMY1Fs— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) July 12, 2022
Bridges' comments about so-called transgender suicide rates may actually hurt the pro-LGBT narrative she was trying to push.
As Church Militant previously reported, minors who "transition" have faced increasing suicide rates, despite state legislators making it easier for gender-dysphoric teens to receive life-altering treatment.
A report released last month by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative super PAC, explained the repercussions of "lowering legal barriers to make it easier for minors to undergo cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent."
Heritage's report, led by Senior Research Fellow Jay P. Greene, suggested the increased availability of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors in recent years has pushed more and more teens to "transition" — leading, in turn, to more suicides.
By the end of 2020, according to Greene, "there [were] about 3.5 more suicides per 100,000 people ages 12–23 in states with easier access than in states without an access provision."
Greene believes that "rather than being protective against suicide, this pattern indicates that easier access by minors to cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent is associated with higher risk of suicide."