During a congressional hearing on the fragile state of abortion care in the US, Democratic US Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez warned against a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to undermine the idea that transgender people can get pregnant.
Republican US Representative Andrew Clyde asked a doctor on the witness panel a series of transphobic questions and repeatedly interrupted his answers.
“The same people who tell us… this [Covid-19] it’s just a flu, that climate change isn’t real, that January 6th was just a tourist visit, now they’re trying to tell us that trans people aren’t real,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said at her Oversight Committee hearing Parliament on 29. September.
In the wake of the attack on the US Capitol, the Georgia congressman argued during a committee hearing that there was “no riot” and that the images of the rioters looked like a “normal tourist visit”. He was barricaded inside the House of Representatives as the mob stormed the chambers of Congress. He has also called the climate crisis “fake news”.
“I’d say their claim is probably as legitimate as everyone else’s, which is to say, not by much. By all means,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
Abortion providers and advocates testified before the committee about the far-reaching effects of state-level anti-abortion laws that have been advanced in the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwhich overturned precedents affirming the constitutional right to abortion in the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey.
Dr. Bhavik Kumar – the medical director of primary and trans care with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast – operates in Texas, where three overlapping anti-abortion laws carry severe criminal penalties for providers, including life in prison.
Transgender men and trans non-binary people who have a functioning uterus and ovaries can become pregnant and often face unique and pervasive barriers to abortion care, exacerbated by state-level bans and restrictions.
During Thursday’s hearing, Mr. Clyde appeared to repeatedly deny that transgender people exist or that they could get pregnant.
“Are you saying that a biological female who identifies as male and therefore becomes pregnant is, quote, a ‘male’?” asked Mr. Clyde. “Is that what you’re saying?”
“These questions about who can get pregnant really miss the point,” replied Dr Kumar. “I’m here to talk about what’s going on in Texas.”
“No, no, no – I ask a question and you answer. I am asking the questions, sir. Not you,” Agent Clyde said.
“Right, and I answer the questions. Someone with a uterus can have the ability to get pregnant, whether they are female or male,” Dr Kumar said.
Rep. Clyde cut him off, “Okay, we’re done.”
“Not every person with a uterus has the ability to get pregnant,” Dr Kumar added. “This is medicine.”
After the hearing, Dr. Kumar tweeted that “trans people do exist. Transgender people have abortions. Abortion is essential health care, as is gender-affirming care.”
“I will not let bullies who are out of touch with reality silence me or stop me from standing up for people who need trans and abortion care,” she wrote.