CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, ignoring the fact that only biological women can get pregnant, referred to “pregnant people” on Wednesday, as she recommended women who are pregnant get the coronavirus vaccine, triggering outrage on social media.
Walensky tweeted, “The rise in cases, vaccine hesitancy, and the increased risk of severe illness for pregnant people make vaccination against #COVID19 more urgent than ever. Read why @CDCgov recommends that pregnant people should be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
The CDC stated on its website, “Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.”
Social media blasted Walensky:
Radio and TV host Dana Loesch: “‘Pregnant people.’ The CDC wants you to follow the science.”
Reminder: The CDC wants you to follow the science. https://t.co/1TvcR3LvdD
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 12, 2021
Fox News’ Katie Pavlich: “The CDC wants us to take them very seriously as they perpetuate the biologically and scientifically false narrative that ‘people’ rather than women, can get pregnant.”
The CDC wants us to take them very seriously as they perpetuate the biologically and scientifically false narrative that “people” rather than women, can get pregnant.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) August 12, 2021
Fox News’ Lisa Boothe; “CDC gets Florida’s numbers wrong and calls pregnant women pregnant people, but absolutely trust them on the science.”
CDC gets Florida’s numbers wrong and calls pregnant women pregnant people, but absolutely trust them on the science!
— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) August 12, 2021
Journalist Jim Treacher: “’Pregnant people.’ They can’t say ‘women’ because science-deniers will yell at them, yet they want us to trust them.”
"Pregnant people." They can't say "women" because science-deniers will yell at them, yet they want us to trust them. https://t.co/Q12c5TPgfl
— jimtreacher.substack.com (@jtLOL) August 12, 2021
Speaking before the Senate Finance Committee hearing about the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 HHS budget request in June, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra was confronted by Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford about the removal of the word “mother” and the insertion of the term “birthing people.”
When Lankford asked for a good definition of “birthing people,” Becerra was literally unable to say the word “mother,” instead grinning and responding, “I don’t know how else to explain it to you other than” before his voice petered out.
Later Lankford cornered Becerra about the elision of the word “mother,” asserting, “I also notice you changed a term in your budget where you shifted in places from using the term ‘mother’ to ‘birthing people’ rather than ‘mother.’ Can you help me get a good definition of ‘birthing people?’”
Becerra deflected, “Well, I’ll check on the language there, but I think if we’re talking about those who give birth I think we’re talking about —” Unable to bring himself to say “mother,” Becerra grinned, “I don’t know how else to explain it to you other than …” as his voice petered out.
Lankford pressed, “I was a little taken aback when I just read it and saw it that the term ‘mother’ was gone and it was replaced with ‘birthing people” and I didn’t know if this was a direction you were going, if there were shifts, if there were regulatory changes that are happening related to that or what the purpose of that is.”
Becerra dodged, “I think it’s probably — and again I’d have to go back and take a look at the language that was used in the budget, but I think it simply reflects the work that is being done.”