The gender-neutral term “birthing parent” is being removed from Medicare forms, and will be replaced by “mother”.
It follows backlash to the forms, which had been rolled out as part of a trial program in three hospitals.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten confirmed the term “birthing-parent” would be scrapped after a Queensland mother posted to social media alleging that the term was “alienating and derogatory”.
Sall Grover shared her story to Twitter, she scratched out “birthing parent to write “mother”.
“This absolute bullshit is exclusionary, alienating and derogatory towards every woman who wants to be and is called mother,” she tweeted.
“Having to sign my name next to the title “birthing parent” on a government form is just too close to a Handmaids Tale dystopia for me to feel relaxed & “inclusive” to be honest, & I’m quite apprehensive of anyone who is happy to be called “birthing parent” on a government form.”‘
Birth parent about ‘inclusion is not erasure’
However, LGBTQIA+ advocates have criticised the government’s response, saying the forms were about “inclusion not erasure”.
While the term “birthing parent” includes mothers, it might also be used for trans or non-binary people who give birth.
It also has applications for cis women in same-sex relationships.
“Including more people at the table isn’t taking away your seat – it’s adding seats for others as well,” Transgender Victoria CEO Mama Alto said.
“And it’s not just about trans and gender diverse people – inclusion benefits many.
Mama Alto said the terminology could also be useful for lesbian partners with children.
“Both mothers, but where only one of them may have given birth. That is potentially useful information in medical settings,” Mama Alto said.
“It’s disappointing to see a step backward for inclusive language on medical forms today. Inclusion is not erasure – so let’s not erase inclusion.”
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