UPitt calls women 'birthing people' in article about 'reproductive justice'
The University of Pittsburgh used the term “birthing people” — a generalized term meant to assert that those who are not women can be pregnant.
Leading universities across the country have adopted the controversial term.
The University of Pittsburgh used the term “birthing people" in what is just the latest example of a growing trend toward the blurring of gender lines on college campuses.
UPitt published on its official website a post about the research of Dara Mendez — a public health professor who applies “Black Feminist Theory” and “Critical Race Theory” to her work. The post detailed her research into the experiences of Black mothers in giving birth and raising children.
The publication used the term “birthing people” to delineate between women and supposed non-women who give birth.
“The numbers are grim: The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has been climbing over the past three and a half decades, and that rate is higher among Black women and birthing people than in other racial groups with 40 deaths per 100,000, compared to 12.4 per 100,000 in their White counterparts,” the post states.
Campus Reform contacted Mendez to determine whether she consents to the use of the term; this article will be updated with any response.
The use of the phrase “birthing people” is growing increasingly common in academic circles. As Campus Reform previously reported, one of Harvard Medical School’s official Twitter accounts received swift backlash after utilizing the term.
The account tweeted that “globally, ethnic minority pregnant and birthing people suffer worse outcomes and experiences during and after pregnancy and childbirth.”
Globally, ethnic minority pregnant and birthing people suffer worse outcomes and experiences during and after pregnancy and childbirth. These inequities have been further highlighted by #COVID19. Watch this panel discussion on #MaternalJustice. https://t.co/RcflQQapQo pic.twitter.com/N5m2s2SRdi
— Harvard Med Postgraduate and Continuing Education (@HMSPostgradCE) November 8, 2020
After Twitter users decried the use of the term, Harvard doubled down in a subsequent tweet by stating that “the webinar panelists used the term ‘birthing person’ to include those who identify as non-binary or transgender because not all who give birth identify as ‘women’ or ‘girls.’”
“We understand the reactions to this terminology and in no way meant for it to erase or dehumanize women,” Harvard added.
Academia’s erosion of gender norms — particularly in the realm of childbirth — is by no means new. Campus Reform reported on a study from two professors who claimed in 2016 that breastfeeding should not be advertised as the “natural” way to feed infants.
In early 2021, a hospital system in the United Kingdom similarly instructed its staff to swap the term “breastfeeding” for “chestfeeding.”
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Pittsburgh for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft