CDC Slammed for Swapping ‘Women’ with ‘Pregnant People’ in Health Guidance

In a recent move that has sparked controversy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come under fire for replacing the word “woman” with “pregnant people” in its recommendations promoting COVID-19 and flu vaccines. The CDC has removed all gender-specific terms, including “she,” “her,” “women,” and “mother,” when referring to pregnant individuals. Critics, such as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and Roger Severino, former head of the Office for Civil Rights within Health and Human Services in the Trump administration, are slamming the CDC’s use of such language as a pandering to political forces.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, criticized the CDC for cowering to influential entities who are trying to change language in an Orwellian style. She emphasized that all pregnant individuals are women and argued that a trans man is a woman who is endangering her baby’s health by taking testosterone. Severino, on the other hand, argued that there is no medical reason to start changing basic scientific terminology and called the CDC’s move “anti-science in the extreme.”

Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and director of the group Genspect, also voiced concerns over the CDC’s tactics, calling them dangerous. O’Malley argued that in medical matters, clarity and simplicity should be prioritized so that everyone can understand what is involved. She pointed out that the replacement of the term “woman” with “pregnant person” could be confusing for those who speak English as a second language.

This is not the first time the CDC has omitted the term “women” and replaced it with “pregnant people.” In 2021, then-CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky faced criticism for urging “pregnant people” to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The move has reignited debates over the role of politics in medicine and the importance of maintaining scientific accuracy in language.

Written by Staff Reports

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