British doctors have been told not to call pregnant women ‘mothers’ in a British Medical Association (BMA) document that has been slammed by conservative commentators.
In a booklet entitled A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace, doctors are instructed to use “inclusive language” that demonstrates “a commitment to equality and inclusion”. This includes revising conventional language used during pregnancy:
“Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men...We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.”
In an introduction to the guide on the BMA’s website, senior executive Dr Anthea Mowat wrote: ‘I would encourage you all to read and share this guide, and think about how you can apply it in your day-to-day work. This is a time where we need to come together to support and protect our colleagues and our patients.’
Conservative MP Philip Davies described the guidance as ‘completely ridiculous’: “If you can’t call a pregnant woman an expectant mother, then what is the world coming to?’”
Women’s rights campaigner Laura Perrins was equally critical of the document:
‘As every doctor knows only females can have children. To say otherwise is offensive and dangerous. This will offend women up and down the country, and is an example of the majority of women being insulted for a tiny minority of people.’The BMA controversy comes just weeks after British media outlets reported the ‘first male pregnancy’, involving a transgender who halted her gender transition to being a male so that she could have a child.
We have introduced a new feature in BioEdge this week. It’s a new section called “In Depth”, where we plan to feature commentary, analysis, background and interviews.
This week Clark Hobson, of the University of Leicester, in the UK, argues that assisted suicide has a chance of becoming law in Britain through the courts, not through Parliament. In previous cases the courts have stated that Parliament must address the ban on assisted suicide appropriately. If it does not act, the Supreme Court might find that the ban infringes Article 8(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
It’s an intriguing argument, one that will cheer supporters and dismay opponents of assisted suicide. Of course, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has vowed to make withdrawal from the ECHR a central plank in the 2020 election, so there might not be much time...
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