The White House's 2022 fiscal year budget replaced the word mothers with birthing people in a section about public health funding, prompting ridicule Monday from President Joe Biden's conservative critics.
The Biden administration's budget includes a public health section which addresses efforts to "reduce maternal mortality rates and end race-based disparities in maternal mortality." The budget specifically addresses racial disparities between Black, American Indian/Alaska Native and other women of color. But it is the replacement of the word mother with birthing people that drew the ire of conservative think tank leaders and right-wing media members Monday following the release of Biden's budget.
A Heritage Action lobbyist on Capitol Hill responded incredulously tweeting, "Why does Biden want to cancel mothers?"
"The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other women of color. To help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people," reads the 2022 White House fiscal year budget proposal.
The budget goes on to tout the implementation of "implicit bias training for health care providers" as well as the creation of state-run pregnancy medical home programs and additional early childhood development funding.
The pro-choice nonprofit NARAL defended use of the term, tweeting, "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."
The legislative director for Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted Monday, "The President of the United States introduce a budget that replaces the term 'mother' with 'birthing people' in reference to maternal health programs."
Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson responded on Twitter as well, remarking, "Biden's budget would literally erase the word 'mother' and replace it with the woke and watered-down term 'birthing people' in relation to maternal health. Why does Biden want to cancel mothers?"
The phrase birthing people also drew mockery from Republicans last month after Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush used the term during House testimony about the country's Black maternal health crisis. "Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don't believe our pain. My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic," the Democratic lawmaker testified on May 6.
The Biden budget proposal goes on to include "more than $200 million to: reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide; bolster Maternal Mortality Review Committees; expand the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies program."
On Monday, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities announced a $250,000 grant had been issued to study the country's vast disparity in cesarean births among Black and White women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31.7 percent of all deliveries in the U.S. are by cesarean birth, creating vastly increased risks of severe blood loss, infection and anesthesia complications.
Newsweek reached out to the White House and the CDC for additional comments or reaction to the budget proposal language modification Monday afternoon.