The Hocus Pocus star was recently condemned by fans for a tweet many people said “demonises trans people”.
Midler wrote on Twitter: “Women of the world! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even our name!
“They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators,’ and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you.”
Many people, including actor and presenter Siobhán McSweeney and comedian and author Shaparak Khorsandi, called out Midler for her post, which was widely considered “transphobic”.
The 76-year-old has since responded to the criticism in a tweet posted on Wednesday (6 July).
“PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! My tweet about women was a response to this fascinating and well written piece in the NYT on 3 July,” wrote Midler, alongside a link to the New York Times opinion piece titled: “The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don’t Count.”
Midler continued: “There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.”
She said 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 actor said: “I’ve fought for marginalised 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.
“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 statements follow after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy while also overturning key precedents established by the 1973 decision in Roe v Wade.