UK officials want new UN treaty to use term ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘pregnant women’

UK officials want new UN treaty to use term ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘pregnant women’
The United Kingdom wants the United Nations to refer to pregnant women as "pregnant people." The proposal would avoid excluding "transgender people who have given birth." (Getty Images)

The United Kingdom government is opposed to the term “pregnant women” and, according to Sunday reports in the U.K’s Sunday Times, is encouraging the United Nations to use the more inclusive term “pregnant people,” instead of “pregnant women,” as verbiage in a new treaty.

Why is this a problem?

  • Officials in the U.K. government claimed that the term “pregnant women” excludes pregnant transgender people.
  • According to the Times, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office voiced opposition to the term “pregnant women” in a statement on the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which says that a “pregnant woman” must be protected and must not subjected to the death penalty.
  • A proposed amendment changes the term “pregnant women” to “pregnant people” so as to avoid excluding “transgender people who have given birth.”
  • “We requested that the UN human rights committee made it clear that the same right [to life for pregnant women] extends to pregnant transgender people,” a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office read.

What are people saying about this?

Some feminists are outraged by the suggestion that “pregnant women” be changed to “pregnant people” and have said that the move to change the verbiage isn’t “inclusion.”

Feminist Sarah Ditum told the Sunday Times, “This is making women unmentionable.”

“Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary,'” Ditum said. “Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”

86 Comments