Congresswoman Cori Bush has been mocked for referring to mothers as ‘birthing people’, in her speech before Congress on Thursday.
She drew condemnation from many, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who mocked her by saying ‘mother has been banned’ because the term is ‘too sexist’.
The representative for Missouri told the harrowing story of how she was ignored by doctors when she told them of the extreme pain she was in, early in her pregnancy with both her children.
She said her concerns were dismissed, and both her children – her son Zion, now 21, and daughter Angel, now 20 – were born extremely premature.
Cori Bush, representative for Missouri, spoke before a House committee on Thursday
Bush with her father, her son Zion, 21, and daughter Angel, 20
‘I sit before you today as a single mom, as a nurse, as an activist, congresswoman, and I am committed to doing the absolute most to protect black mothers, to protect black babies, to protect black birthing people, and to save lives.’
‘Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don’t believe our pain,’ she tweeted later on Thursday.
‘My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic. I testified about my experience today.
‘Hear us. Believe us. Because for so long, nobody has.’
Bush’s terminology was immediately seized on.
Nancy Mace, a South Carolina congresswoman, tweeted: ‘“Birthing people” – you mean women or moms?
‘The left is so woke they’re stripping from women the one thing that only we can do.’
Steve Cortes, a former Trump advisor, questioned whether Mother’s Day will get a new title.
‘”Birthing people.” This upcoming Sunday is no longer Mothers Day, it’s Birthing Peoples’ Day,’ he said.
Carlson ridiculed her on Friday night, saying it was ‘dehumanizing’.
Tucker Carlson on Friday night mocked Bush for her terminology
He said she was ‘referring to black birthing people – in other words, mothers.’
Carlson continued: ‘That happened in a House committee hearing on birthing, while examining America’s black maternal health crisis.
‘Because everything is about race now.’
‘Well, it’s almost mother’s day. We have to change the name because mother has been banned. Too sexist. Fortunately, some members of congress have a new name for mothers’, Carlson said.
The hearing was held to address what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe as ‘wide racial/ethnic gaps’ in maternal mortality.
Non-Hispanic black women die in childbirth at a rate of 37.1 per 100,000 live births, compared to 14.7 with non-Hispanic white women, and 11.8 with Hispanic women.
Carlson said: ‘As you can imagine, some people thought this language of birthing people was in fact kind of dehumanizing, reducing people to their biological function, though that, of course, would be par for the course for Cori Bush and her friends.’
Even some of Bush’s supporters objected to the terminology.
‘I’m all about inclusivity, but being afraid to use the term ‘woman’ like it’s a four letter word is going too far,’ said one.
‘Please do not EVER refer to me as a “birthing person”,’ said another.
‘I am currently pregnant with my first son and I will be referred to as a pregnant WOMAN and his MOTHER. That is all.’
Journalist Emily Zanotti noted: ‘The law for “birthing people” is called … The Mommies Act.’
Bush was supported by pro-choice group NARAL, which tweeted: ‘When we talk about birthing people, we’re being inclusive. It’s that simple.
‘We use gender neutral language when talking about pregnancy, because it’s not just cis-gender women that can get pregnant and give birth.
‘Reproductive freedom is for *every* body.’
Bush herself was unrepentant.
‘I testified in front of Congress about nearly losing both of my children during childbirth because doctors didn’t believe my pain,’ she said.
‘Republicans got more upset about me using gender-inclusive language in my testimony than my babies nearly dying.
‘Racism and transphobia in America.’