Biden Administration replaces 'mother' with 'birthing person' in budget proposal 3 months ago

Biden Administration replaces 'mother' with 'birthing person' in budget proposal

The change was made in a section that references race and ethnicity-based disparities in maternity care.

US President Joe Biden's Administration has replaced the word 'mother' with the term 'birthing person' in a recent proposal for its 2022 Health and Human Services budget.

The budget includes a section which references maternal healthcare, with particular emphasis on efforts to "reduce maternal mortality rates and end race-based disparities in maternal mortality."

"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 colour," reads the budget proposal. "To help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people..."

The terminology was pointed out during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the budget by Republican Senator James Lankford. At one point of the hearing, Lankford questioned Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about the change, initially asking for a definition of 'birthing people.'

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Becerra responded that he would have to check on the language used in the budget but that he assumed the phrase references "those who give birth" and "reflects the work that's being done."

Lankford argued that the term "could be offensive to some moms" and sought further clarity on the purpose of the change.

"We're trying to be precise in the language that's used," Becerra replied.

Conservatives and those critical of gender-inclusive terminology criticised the change, while those in favour of gender-neutral language praised it.