Republican Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri challenged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director on the Biden administration’s use of the term “birthing people” at a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday.
Smith pointed to the OMB’s replacement of the term women with “birthing people” in their request for $26 million to reduce racial disparities and maternal mortality rates among women. When asked to clarify the meaning of the term, OMB Director Shalanda Young said that the Biden administration’s language needs to be “inclusive” to all gender identities.
“There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female or male, so we think our language needs to be more inclusive in how we deal with complex issues,” Young said.
.@RepJasonSmith: “Is the admin’s official policy to replace the term woman with birthing people?”
Acting OMB Dir. Young: “I think our official policy is to make sure when people get service from their government that they feel included and we’re trying to use inclusive language” pic.twitter.com/4ABbD1Lr58
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 9, 2021
However, Young then argued that policy concerning women should ensure that maternal mortality rates for people of color decrease and have access to good quality healthcare, rather than focus on the language used to describe those impacted. (RELATED: I Earned The Name ‘Mother’-You Won’t Demote Me To ‘Birthing Person’)
“I think the underlying issues most important that your colleagues are working on is to try to ensure that those of color that are giving birth leave the hospital alive and that’s the issue rather than the verbiage,” she said. “The verbiage matters, but the underlying issue is extremely important and a lot of your colleagues are working hard on this because all of those giving birth should have access to the same quality healthcare.”
When Smith asked Young if the Biden administration has implemented a policy to replace the term ‘woman’ with ‘birthing people,’ she replied that the administration is focused on helping people “get service from their government” while also using “inclusive language.”
Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush called women “birthing people” on May 6 during a Democratic oversight committee hearing. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, midwives are required to use gender-neutral vocabulary including “chestfeeding” and “birthing parent.”