Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra over the decision to use “birthing person” instead of “mother” in the Biden administration’s $6 trillion budget.
At Thursday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, Mr. Lankford said he “noticed 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’?” he asked.
The secretary managed to reply without using “mom” or “mother,” saying, “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 — I don’t know how else to explain it to you.”
In what appears to be a first, the administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget used the term “birthing people,” saying that the proposal includes funding for maternal health to “help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people.”
The term has been increasingly employed on the left to avoid offending, for example, transgender people who give birth but do not identify as women, prompting eye-rolling on the right.