Expectant mothers should be called “pregnant people”, the Government has suggested in a submission to amend a UN treaty.
The proposed amendment is to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the UK has been a signatory of since 1976.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s submission suggests the term “pregnant people” to avoid excluding “transgender people who have given birth”, The Sunday Times reported.
An FCO spokesman said: “The UK does not object to the use of the term ‘pregnant woman’. We strongly support the right to life of pregnant women, and we have requested that the Human Rights Committee does not exclude pregnant transgender people from that right to life.”
But one feminist said the change made gender “unmentionable”.
Sarah Ditum, a feminist writer, told The Sunday Times: “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.”
The organisation is the latest to encourage the use of gender-neutral language. Earlier this year, the British Medical Association told staff not to refer to “expectant mothers” as it could be offensive.
In an internal document, the organisation said: “A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. We can include intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.”