Why The U.K. Government Has An Issue With The Term "Pregnant Women"

Photographed by: Ashley Armitage.
In a move to be more inclusive of the rights of transgender people, the U.K. government is seeking to amend a U.N. treaty that refers to "pregnant women," advocating for it to instead read "pregnant people" so as not to exclude transgender people who may be pregnant.
According to The Times, the U.K. Foreign Office wrote to the U.N., urging a change in terminology to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which currently states that the death penalty "shall not be carried out on pregnant women."
While it has been reported that the government opposed the term "pregnant women," a Foreign Office spokeswoman told The Guardian that it has not necessarily objected to the term.
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"The UK does not object to the use of the term 'pregnant woman,'" she said. "We strongly support the right to life of pregnant women, and we have requested that the human rights committee does not exclude pregnant transgender people from that right to life."
The government's move signals a more inclusive approach that could begin to dismantle stigma against transgender people, in addition to advocating for the lives of pregnant trans people, when it comes to the death penalty.
Earlier this year, the British Medical Association issued similar internal guidelines, encouraging doctors to refer to "pregnant people" instead of "expectant mothers," to avoid offending or excluding transgender or intersex individuals.
"We know that biological females are the pregnant ones but trans people are parents, too, and this is a massive step forward to prevent discrimination against them," Heather Ashton, from the transgender support group TG Pals, told the Telegraph about the BMA's decision. "The fact that the terminology is changing can only be a positive thing for everyone who wants to be a parent and has the right to be a parent."
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