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 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.