The Biden administration opted to replace the word “mothers” with the unusual phrase “birthing people” in its 2022 fiscal year budget proposal, prompting scorn and mockery from critics online.
What are the details?
The strange, sterile phrase appears in a section of the budget proposal outlining public funding efforts to “reduce] maternal mortality rates and end race-based disparities in maternal mortality.”
In the section, the administration laments that the “United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other women of color,” before offering its solution for “birthing people” (emphasis added):
To help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people — and in addition to the investment in maternal health included in the American Families Plan — the Budget includes more than $200 million to: reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide; bolster Maternal Mortality Review Committees; expand the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies program; help cities place early childhood development experts in pediatrician offices with a high percentage of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program patients; implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers; and create State pregnancy medical home programs.
Interestingly, in another section of the budget proposal regarding paid leave in the American Families Plan, the administration uses the word “mothers.”
The Biden administration’s proposed budget uses the word “mother” when discussing paid leave but “birthing people”… https://t.co/cOhyL0pS2t
— Declan Garvey (@Declan Garvey)1623101448.0
The phrase immediately provoked mockery from conservative commentators on social media.
Wall Street Journal writer and author Abigail Shrier wrote, “100% of birthing people are, and have always been, women. I can’t believe I have to educate the Biden Administration in these basics, but here we are.”
“By not saying ‘women’ you are making your feelings about us pretty plain,” she added.
100% of birthing people are, and have always been, women.
I can’t believe I have to educate the Biden Administrat… https://t.co/uYm6lwPp6K
— Abigail Shrier (@Abigail Shrier)1623095087.0
“I remember when we used to use the phrase ‘the flag, motherhood, and apple pie’ to signify things about which Americans were unified. It is now ‘an offensive symbol of white supremacy’ and ‘birthing people.’ So I guess we’re still good with apple pie,” added Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro.
I remember when we used to use the phrase “the flag, motherhood, and apple pie” to signify things about which Ameri… https://t.co/JFGcAjD4In
— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro)1623156263.0
The Republican National Committee called use of the phrase “woke, anti-science nonsense.”
Joe Biden’s budget uses the term “birthing people” instead of women.
This is woke, anti-science nonsense. https://t.co/42atcoe11s
— RNC Research (@RNC Research)1623086907.0
Last month, in response to progressives such as Democratic Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) using the phrase, conservatives lashed out, noting its dehumanizing affect.
Commentators such as Tim Carney of the American Enterprise Institute and the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh blasted progressives for reducing humans “to atomized autonomous individuals without a role or connection,” calling leftism a “scourge” and a “poison.”
The phrase is reminiscent, albeit a bit less clunky, than another peculiar one used in an official document by a federal health agency earlier this year.
In February, the National Institutes of Health refused to utter the word “women” instead referring to them as “pregnant and lactating people.”