Bette Midler is attempting to clear the air after she sparked intense backlash online over her comments in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In a Monday tweet, the Hocus Pocus star condemned the erasure of "women," writing that women "are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name," before adding "don't call us 'women' anymore; they call us 'birthing people' or 'menstruators', and even 'people with vaginas'!" The tweet, however, immediately drew up comparisons to comments made by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, with many online deeming Midler's remarks transphobic.
After receiving thousands of responses, Midler returned to Twitter on Tuesday to address the backlash, writing in a series of tweets that she did not mean for her comments to come off as "transphobic." In the first of multiple tweets, the 73-year-old actress shared a New York Times opinion piece by Pamela Paul titled "The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don't Count," in which Paul argued that "the word 'women' has become verboten." Midler explained that her initial Monday tweet was "in response to this fascinating and well written piece in the NYT on July 3rd," adding that "there was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn't about that."
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! My tweet about women was a response to this fascinating and well written piece in the NYT on July 3rd. https://t.co/MlsATlrr1r. There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) July 5, 2022
Midler went on to explain that her original tweet "was about the same old s- women – ALL WOMEN – have been putting up with since the cavemen. Even then, men got top billing." The actress encouraged those who believe she to "anything but love for any marginalized people" to "go to Wikipedia and type in my name," Midler noting that she has "fought for marginalized people for as long as I can remember."
"Still, if you want to dismiss my 60 years of proven love and concern over a tweet that accidentally angered the very people I have always supported and adored, so be it," she continued before concluding, "But the truth is, Democracy is slipping through our fingers! I'm all in on trying to save Democracy for ALL PEOPLE. We must unite, because, in case you haven't been paying attention, divided we will definitely fall."
Midler's Monday tweet came after the Supreme Court in the 6-3 ruling on June 24 overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion, which was a landmark decision in 1973. The decision allows individual states to the power to decide whether to allow the procedure. The tweet also came amid a growing number of states seeking to restrict health care options for transgender people.