The CDC has been slammed for ‘appalling’ new health guidance in which it replaced the word ‘women’ with the gender-neutral term ‘pregnant people.’
The erasure of the term women can be seen in recommendations for a host of respiratory virus vaccinations for pregnant women.
This includes material promoting shots for Covid, flu and RSV – a common respiratory condition that most affects older adults and young children.
Although usually mild, all three viruses can be deadly in pregnant women.
DailyMail.com found all gender-specific terms — including ‘she,’ ‘her,’ ‘women’ and ‘mother’ — were omitted and gender-neutral terms like ‘pregnant people’ and ‘pregnant person’ were used instead.
A doctors’ organization said the CDC was ‘cowering to political forces’ at the expense of sound medical advice.
DailyMail.com found that all gender-specific terms — including ‘she’, ‘her’, ‘women’ and ‘mother’ — were wiped from the CDC’s recommendations for the respiratory virus and Covid vaccinations, when it was updated last month
Recent CDC guidance on the flu shot also refers to ‘the pregnant person’ instead of ‘mother’
Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and director of the campaign group Genspect said the guidance was ‘dangerous’.
She argued that pregnant women are more vulnerable, and some groups – including those who speak English as a second language – may find the ambiguous terms confusing.
She told DailyMail.com she was ‘disappointed’ the CDC ‘has needlessly chosen to use more complicated language than they need to.’
The guidance was updated at the end of September. It said: ‘CDC recommends pregnant people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, although flu vaccination should continue as long as flu is circulating.
‘Getting a flu vaccine by the end of October helps protect pregnant people and their babies before flu activity begins to increase. Pregnant people may receive a flu vaccine during any trimester of pregnancy.’
Ms O’Malley said: ‘There was no need to replace the word “woman” with the words “pregnant person.” In medical matters, clarity and simplicity should be prioritized so that everyone can understand what is involved.
‘Some people, especially those for whom English is not a first language, will not understand what is meant by “pregnant people” yet they would readily understand “mothers.”
‘It’s an appalling example of how politics is increasingly interfering with medicine.’
The CDC’s flu vaccine guidance, which was updated on September 7, 2023, was void of all mention of pregnant women and used the term ‘pregnant people’ instead
It is the latest example of CDC medical advice being de-sexed in an attempt to be more inclusive to transgender people.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) said the CDC was ‘cowering to political forces,’ claiming it is trying to ‘force acceptance of an absurdity.’
DailyMail.com has approached the CDC for comment.
It’s not the first time that the agency has received criticism for its removal of gendered terms from guidance.
In November last year, DailyMail.com revealed that ‘woman’ was missing from flu vaccine advice, which The Association of Physicians and Surgeons described as a ‘purely political move’.
And this July, the agency was criticized after advocating that trans women could breastfeed — without highlighting hormonal-related health risks to the baby.
The CDC’s website replaced ‘breastfeeding’ with ‘chestfeeding’ — a term used to describe feeding an infant milk directly from the breast by trans and non-binary parents.
Pregnancy is the term used to describe when a fetus is developing in a woman’s uterus.
Trans men who were born female can sometimes get pregnant if they chose to keep their reproductive organs.
Former Trump Administration staffer Roger Severino, former head of the Office for Civil Rights within Health and Human Services, told DailyMail.com the vocabulary switch was the CDC caving to ‘wokeism’ and was ‘offensive to women.’
The CDC is ‘literally trying to erase the concept of what it means to be female, which is extraordinarily anti-science,’ he said.
‘It’s anti-science in the extreme because where the biological reality of male and female matters most is in the health sciences and in medicine, and to politicize it… offends science and common sense.
‘There is no medical reason to start changing basic scientific terminology.’
What concerns some health experts is that flu and Covid vaccines are particularly important for pregnant women, because they are at a much higher risk of severe disease.
Being pregnant can weaken the immune system, leaving women more likely to end up in the hospital if they catch the flu.
A 2019 study found pregnant women are seven times more likely to be hospitalized if they get the virus.
The infection has also been linked to premature births and birth defects, making a flu vaccine essential for expectant mothers.
What’s more, studies showed that Covid caused a 40 percent increase in deaths of pregnant women, due to their extreme vulnerability to the virus.
But muddling language in the guidelines could cause confusion over who should receive the vaccine.
Dr Jane Orient, executive director of the right-leaning Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), told DailyMail.com: ‘The CDC is supposed to be an apolitical bastion of science, but here they are cowering to political forces, a small minority but highly influential entities, who are trying to change language, Orwellian style, to force acceptance of an absurdity.
‘All pregnant persons are women. A trans man is a woman who is trying to alter her body to resemble a man’s. She is endangering her baby’s health if she is taking testosterone. The CDC ought to be warning about that.’