Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Women or ‘Pregnant People’?

 From the National Catholic Register:

A recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion access and the law featured the tortured state of America’s debate on what defines a woman. In the process, the ensuing verbal fireworks also marked the collision between a women’s movement that sees legal abortion as key to sexual equality and the transgender-rights movement that believes biological sex is a social construct.

During the July 13 Senate hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asked University of California at Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges whether a phrase she had used, “a person with the capacity for pregnancy,” referred to “women.” Bridges agreed that “[m]any women, cis women, have the capacity for pregnancy,” but “trans men” and “nonbinary people” can conceive a child, as well. Hawley then asked whether abortion was “really a women’s-rights issue.”

Bridges said it was possible to recognize that abortion access “impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups.” Bridges then pivoted to accuse the GOP senator of engaging in a “transphobic” line of questioning that “opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.” She repeated that judgment after Hawley stated his belief that men could not get pregnant in an exchange that went viral and provoked an explosive response on social media.

Once confined to graduate-school seminars, gender theory — the view that biological sex must be brought into line with a person’s separate, inner feelings of being a man or woman — has moved to the forefront of American public discourse, as this congressional exchange demonstrated. Gender theory’s surge to political prominence has divided the political loyalties of progressive-minded abortion-rights advocates. Many do not want to take the focus off of what they see as the particular vulnerabilities women face in a post-Roe world, while others insist that the abortion-rights push must be inclusive of biological women who identify as trans or nonbinary. (Read more.)


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