UK Government to press UN to stop using term ‘pregnant women’

The UK Government has called for pregnancy terms to be made gender-neutral at the United Nations.

The call suggests that the term “pregnant woman” should not be used in order to be more inclusive of trans people. It comes just days after Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the PinkNews Awards, vowing to “streamline” the gender recognition process to make it easier for trans people to transition.

The statement to the UN comes as an official submission on potential amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Covenant, to which the UK has been a signatory since 1976, states that “pregnant women” should be protected. This includes protection against the death penalty. It is part of the International Bill of Human Rights and is periodically revised.

A submission from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office says the “pregnant women” term should not be used. It states that it could “exclude transgender people who have given birth”. The submission also suggests that the term “pregnant people” should be used instead.

The FCO said: “We requested that the UN human rights committee made it clear that the same right [to life for pregnant women] extends to pregnant transgender people.”

According to the Sunday Times the move has been criticised by feminist writer Sarah Ditum. She told the Times: “This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable. Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’. Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”

But this move comes just weeks after it was announced that the 2021 census in the UK could make the “sex” question voluntary in order to be more inclusive of trans people. And just days ago, Theresa May vowed to de-medicalise the gender recognition process. Read more via Pink News