Updated stylebook guidance for The Washington Post told writers to say “pregnant women and other pregnant individuals” rather than just “pregnant women” in an effort “to be more inclusive.”
The paper’s Instagram team leader, Travis Lyles, posted a screenshot of the new guidance Friday afternoon on Twitter.
“While biology dictates who can become pregnant, it does not always reflect gender identity,” the guidance said. “If we say pregnant women, we exclude those who are transgender and nonbinary.” (RELATED: CDC Says It’s ‘Urgent’ For Pregnant Women To Get Vaccinated)
The Post said that they also wanted to be careful not to exclude women, who they referred to as a “marginalized” group.
. @washingtonpost officially updated its stylebook guidance on how we reference pregnancy and pregnant individuals in our writing to be more inclusive 👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/uUW80HUGXI
— Travis Lyles (@travislylesnews) October 1, 2021
“However, we must take care that our efforts to be more inclusive do not come at the expense of other marginalized groups, such as women, and add to a feeling of exclusion,” according to the guidance.
The style guide instructed writers to “look at the context” in which they are discussing pregnancy and “try to be nuanced and thoughtful” while “striving to be as inclusive as possible.”
When writers are sure that the people they are discussing identify as women, the style guide said it is acceptable to say “pregnant women.” It’s also acceptable to say “pregnant women” when discussing a study that also uses the phrase.
“In other situations, to be more inclusive, use pregnant women and other pregnant individuals,” the style guide said. “Yes, this is a bit of a mouthful, but it has the benefit of being the most inclusive way to phrase it in a story.”
“Depending on the context, it may be helpful to explain in the story that transgender men and people who are nonbinary can also become pregnant,” it added.
Refusal to use the phrase “pregnant women” has become more popular in leftist circles. The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill refers to mothers as “pregnant individuals” and “lactating individuals” on 11 occasions, and the British medical journal The Lancet referred to women as “bodies with vaginas” on their September 25 cover. The Lancet Editor-in-Cheif Richard Horton later apologized.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), also expressed regrets after the organization altered a famous quote from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to remove the word “woman.”