UK Government to press UN to stop using term ‘pregnant women’
The UK Government has called for pregnancy terms to be made gender-neutral at the United Nations.
The call suggests that the term “pregnant woman” should not be used in order to be more inclusive of trans people.
It comes just days after Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the PinkNews Awards, vowing to “streamline” the gender recognition process to make it easier for trans people to transition.
The statement to the UN comes as an official submission on potential amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Covenant, to which the UK has been a signatory since 1976, states that “pregnant women” should be protected. This includes protection against the death penalty.
It is part of the International Bill of Human Rights and is periodically revised.
A submission from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office says the “pregnant women” term should not be used.
It states that it could “exclude transgender people who have given birth”.
The submission also suggests that the term “pregnant people” should be used instead.
The FCO said: “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.”
According to the Sunday Times the move has been criticised by feminist writer Sarah Ditum.
She told the Times: “This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable. 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.”
But this move comes just weeks after it was announced that the 2021 census in the UK could make the “sex” question voluntary in order to be more inclusive of trans people.
And just days ago, Theresa May vowed to de-medicalise the gender recognition process.
Speaking at the PinkNews Awards, she said: “We’ve set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.”
The PM also pledged to introduce inclusive sex and relationship education.
The fifth annual PinkNews Awards was generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group and benefits the Kaleidoscope Trust, which works to fight anti-LGBT+ injustice around the world.
Mrs May entered Parliament as an opponent of LGBT rights, but became a convert for equality during David Cameron’s leadership – supporting the introduction of equal marriage.
Her own Prime Ministership has been beset by controversies over LGBT rights due to her confidence-and-supply deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is strongly opposed to LGBT equality.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently expressed her personal support for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, in an exclusive column for PinkNews.
Writing for PinkNews, Mrs May affirmed: “I want all British citizens to enjoy the fullest freedoms and protections. That includes equal marriage – because marriage should be for everyone, regardless of their sexuality.
“And while that is a matter for the devolved government of Northern Ireland, I will continue to make my position clear – that LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland should have the same rights as people across the rest of the UK.”