Biden admin. criticized for 'bias-free language,' scrapping 'mothers' for 'birthing people'

Office of Management and Budget acting director Shalanda Young answers questions during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on June 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool

Federal government agencies are facing criticism from conservatives for using policies that eliminate the use of gendered terms like “mother” and singular pronouns like "he" or "her.”

Jessica Anderson, a former member of the Office of Management and Budget and now the executive director of the conservative lobbying organization Heritage Action, spoke out earlier this week about  how the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget “would literally erase the word ‘mother.'"

She said it would replace the word "with the woke and watered-down term ‘birthing people’ in relation to maternal health.” 

Anderson shared a snapshot of the budget request, which highlights the need to “help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people.”

OMB Deputy Director Shalanda Young defended the use of the language during an appearance before Congress Wednesday.

“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," she said. 

In her remark, Young avoided using the term “women,” instead saying “all of those giving birth." In addition, she used the term “those of color who are giving birth” instead of “women of color.”

Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., asked Young if the “administration’s official policy” was to “replace the term woman with birthing people." The OMB official explained that “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.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson firmly pushed back on Young’s analysis, asserting that “This is maybe the least complex issue ever addressed."

"Mothers give birth, fathers don’t," the conservative commentator argued. "Children are the product of a mother and a father. That’s not politics. It’s biology.”

Additionally, Carlson reported that the Federal Reserve put together a “memo on bias-free language” that he said “instructs staffers not to use words and phrases that may be considered offensive.”

According to Carlson, the memo lists terms like “Founding Fathers” and “manmade” as well as “singular pronouns like ‘he’ or ‘her’” as offensive.

Victor Davis Hanson of the conservative think tank Hoover Institution disputed Young’s implication that there are “a lot of transgender people pouring into hospitals that are pregnant and saying, ‘You know what, I’m going to have … a medical crisis if you get the wrong pronoun.”

The effort to adopt “bias-free language” and eliminate the use of “gendered” terms is not limited to the executive branch.

At the beginning of the 117th Congress earlier this year, the House of Representatives implemented new rules replacing sex-specific terms such as mother, father, son, daughter, aunt and uncle with phrases such as “child,” “parent,” “sibling,” and “parent’s sibling.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., maintained that the changes were necessary to “honor all gender identities.”

While the push to promote “gender-neutral” terminology has accelerated since the Biden administration and the 117th Congress took office, prominent academic institutions and publications began using “inclusive” language to accommodate those who do not identify with either of the biological sexes last year.

Last fall, Harvard Medical School’s Postgraduate and Continuing Education used the term “birthing people” when promoting one of its panel discussions on maternal health.

In response to a Devex op-ed that contained the phrase “people who menstruate” in the headline, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling sarcastically remarked, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people."

"Someone help me out," the famous author wrote. "Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Opponents of the Equality Act, a legislative initiative promoted by Democrats as necessary to codify protections for LGBT Americans, warn that the bill will allow trans-identified individuals to compete on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity instead of their biological sex. Critics claim it is an effort to “erase” women.

In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Beth Stelzer, an amateur powerlifter and founder of the grassroots organization Save Women’s Sports, shared her concerns about the bill.

By equating “gender identity” with sex, Stelzer said the Equality Act “erases what a woman is” and “allows anyone to claim our spaces — that’s on the sports teams, that’s in restrooms, that’s in crisis shelters, hospital wards.”

Stelzer contends that the Equality Act “erases the definition of womanhood."

Some schools are encouraging students to refrain from using the terms “women” and “girls” altogether.

The Grace Church School, a private Episcopal school in Manhattan serving students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, published an “Inclusive Language Guide” encouraging students and faculty to avoid using terms such as “boys and girls,” “guys” and “ladies and gentlemen” and instead use “gender inclusive language” to “provide critical affirmation to students across the gender spectrum.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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