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Biden OMB Doubles Down on Redefining Mothers as ‘Birthing People’ in Budget Proposal

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Office of Management and Budget acting director Shalanda Young answers questions during a Senate Budget Committee hearing to discuss President Biden’s budget request for FY 2022 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., June 8, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters)

During a congressional hearing Wednesday, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young defended the 2021 Biden budget proposal’s redefinition of mothers as “birthing people.”

Republican Representative Jason Smith, a top-ranking member on the House Budget Committee, noted that the replacement of the word “mother” for the gender-ambiguous phrase, in reference to funding maternal health care, was unprecedented for a budget plan.

“The budget requests $26 million to reduce maternal mortality and eliminate race-based disparities in outcomes among ‘birthing people.’” Smith said. “This is a shift from recent budgets that referred to maternal health issues as women’s issues. I’ve never heard the term before, can you explain what it means?”

“There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female and male, so we think our language needs to be more inclusive on how we deal with complex issues,” Young responded.

Incorporating jargon of both gender and racial inclusivity, Biden’s budget stipulates that over $200 million in funding will be allocated to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality and “race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people.” The latter term is instead of “mothers,” which encompasses the strictly female capabilities of both child delivery and child-rearing.

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