As someone who has birthed five persons, I believe I have earned the name “mother.” I won’t be demoted to “birthing person.”
Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush testified before Congress, telling a truly moving story about how her premature son could have been a statistic, and that story fell by the wayside because she used the term “birthing person” to express the fact that she was a mother. (RELATED: Congresswoman Cori Bush Refers To Women As ‘Birthing People’)
Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don’t believe our pain. My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic.
I testified about my experience @OversightDems today.
Hear us. Believe us. Because for so long, nobody has. pic.twitter.com/rExrMXzsSQ
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) May 6, 2021
Bush later explained, as did abortion advocate group NARAL, that the term was being used to “include” people who might not identify as women.
When we talk about birthing people, we’re being inclusive. It’s that simple.
We use gender neutral language when talking about pregnancy, because it’s not just cis-gender women that can get pregnant and give birth. Reproductive freedom is for *every* body. https://t.co/9E9qKRMJTu
— NARAL (@NARAL) May 6, 2021
But being inclusive with words does not change the fundamental biological necessity that getting pregnant and giving birth requires a uterus, and a uterus is unique to biological females.
What being inclusive with words does, however, is it begins to marginalize women by taking away one of the few things that is uniquely ours.
Women have the incredible power to grow and nurture humans beings into existence. Dismissing them as simply “birthing people” and arguing that pregnancy and childbirth are not things that only women can do strips away some of that unique power.
You can start treating women with dignity and respect by not referring to us as “birthing people” or “pregnant person.” Only FEMALES get pregnant, only FEMALES give birth, only FEMALES are mothers. This is misogyny disguised as inclusivity. It is disgusting. https://t.co/63dX7gK1R6
— Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) May 7, 2021
Changing the language does not make women less than — but it devalues the singularity of our contribution to our families, and ultimately, to our societies as a whole.