The CDC appears to be strategically incorporating gender-neutral language in its reporting. The organization will no longer use terms such as “woman,” “women,” “she,” “her” and “mother” when referring to pregnant women.
The outlet also reported that “all gender-specific terms — also including ‘she,’ ‘her’ and ‘mother’ — were wiped from the CDC webpage” when administrators oversaw a website update in August.
The CDC now uses gender-neutral terms such as “pregnant people.”
The move has drawn sharp criticism. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) mocked the move, saying there was “no logical scientific reason” for the change and claimed it was “clearly a political move.”
The CDC contends their changes represent efforts to be more inclusive of trans people.
The Daily Mail noted that “Medical experts” warn that “using neutral terms in gender-specific health advice muddles messaging,” particularly for patients who use English as a second language.
The potentially confusing messaging from the CDC comes as the flu season has arrived — almost 900,000 cases have been reported.
Pregnant women reportedly have a higher risk of suffering more severe symptoms if they contract the flu. According to the Daily Mail, the flu is responsible for more than 7,000 hospitalizations and 360 deaths in 2022.
In the CDC’s website advisory about the flu and pregnant women, gender-neutral terms were used 56 times.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of AAPS, told the Daily Mail that the CDC’s gender-neutral update was “absurd.”
“There is no logical scientific reason to say this, it is clearly a political move,’ Dr. Orient said, adding, “If you don’t have a uterus and you don’t have ovaries then you can’t be pregnant.”
She warned that prescribing gender-relevant treatment without regard for a patient’s biological gender raised the risk of vulnerable people receiving inappropriate care.
“There is a medical risk in misrepresenting a physiological situation,” the doctor said.
Orient clarified: “A person who claims to be a man but has female organs needs to have those parts of their body treated appropriately. Just as a women [claiming] to be a man does not have a prostate, a man pretending to be a woman does have a prostate. If he goes to the gynecological service, he is not dealing with a physician trained in how to deal with male problems.”
Supporters of the CDC’s move to incorporate gender-neutral language ensures the guidance includes “everyone.”
Sally Goldner, advocate and co-founder of Australia-based Transgender Victoria, said:
“It’s important that we represent everyone. The ‘standard cis-gender woman’ will still be able to get the messages, but then we can add in the messages we need for other groups,’ she said.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, advocates gender-neutral language.
Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller contended that Walensky and the CDC are destroying the public’s “faith and trust” in the CDC.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) accused Walensky of “erasing women.” She added: “The recent movement to erase women is disturbing, and has made its way into our bureaucracy.”
The Daily Mail noted the following as examples of the CDC’s attempts to make gender-neutral language the norm.
Aug 11, 2021: CDC director Rochelle Walensky says all ‘pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant’ should get the Covid vaccine.
She also urged those who were breastfeeding to come forward.
July 1, 2022: The agency warned ‘people who are pregnant or recently pregnant’ are at a greater risk of severe Covid infection than ‘non-pregnant people.’
Autumn 2022: The agency’s guidance for the annual flu shot encourages ‘pregnant people (and people up to two weeks postpartum)’ to get their shot.
September, 2022: Reports emerge that the CDC has dropped the word ‘women’ from its monkeypox guidance.
October, 2022: It’s revealed that the agency has updated guidance on getting the flu shot in pregnancy to remove the words ‘woman’ or ‘women.’ They were replaced with ‘people.’
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