On June 10, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the president’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford (R.) confronted Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about the department’s replacement of the word mothers with the term birthing people.
“Can you help me get a good definition of birthing people?” Lankford asked.
To which Becerra answered vaguely, “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.”
But Lankford pushed for more clarification.
“… The language is important always,” he stressed.
“Would you at least admit that calling a mom a ‘birthing person’ could be offensive … that they don’t want to get a ‘Happy birthing person card’ in May,” Lankford continued. “Can you at least admit that term itself could be offensive to some moms?”
“I’ll go back and take a look at terminology that was used and I could get back to you,” Becerra responded, “but again, we’re trying to be precise in the language that’s used.”
“Mom is a pretty good word,” quipped Lankford. “It’s worked for a while, and I think it’s pretty precise as well.”
Over the weekend, Ann Romney, wife of Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, tweeted her own response to the change in terms:
“I’m not the ‘birthing person’ of five boys, I’m their mother,” she wrote. “With all the sacrifice, joy, commitment, hardship and love that comes with that. The Biden Administration diminishing motherhood to ‘birthing person’ is simply insulting to all moms.”
Franklin Graham also responded to edits made to the administration’s budget proposal, posting to Facebook, “I’m glad some in Washington are challenging this ridiculousness.”
Above: Sen. James Lankford questions Xavier Becerra during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Feb. 24 in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Michael Reynolds/ Pool via CNP/SplashNews/Newscom