The term “pregnant women” is now too offensive to use as it excludes female-bodied transgender men, at least according to the logic espoused by one medical professor in the University of California system.
According to a recent report by Katie Herzog, published at the Substack newsletter of former New York Times columnist and liberal dissident Bari Weiss, a professor of medicine within the UC system apologized to his students for saying the words “pregnant women” instead of “pregnant people” in a medical classroom.
The endocrinology professor broke mid-lecture to apologize. Herzog writes:
“I don’t want you to think that I am in any way trying to imply anything, and if you can summon some generosity to forgive me, I would really appreciate it,” the physician says in a recording provided by a student in the class (whom I’ll call Lauren). “Again, I’m very sorry for that. It was certainly not my intention to offend anyone. The worst thing that I can do as a human being is be offensive.”
His offense: using the term “pregnant women.”
“I said ‘when a woman is pregnant,’ which implies that only women can get pregnant and I most sincerely apologize to all of you.”
A UC student, who contacted Herzog with details of the story, said that she has seen medical professors forced to apologize for their language because “acknowledging biological sex can be considered transphobic.”
When sex is acknowledged by her instructors, it’s sometimes portrayed as a social construct, not a biological reality, she says. In a lecture on transgender health, an instructor declared: “Biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender are all constructs. These are all constructs that we have created.”
In other words, some of the country’s top medical students are being taught that humans are not, like other mammals, a species comprising two sexes. The notion of sex, they are learning, is just a man-made creation.
Professors are afraid of student backlash and face potential cancellation for adhering to the common scientific understanding of biological sex. Indeed, colleges like those in the UC system host online forums where students often hit back against instructors and professors over their use of problematic terms and lodge complaints to hold them accountable over perceived slights.
The system enables students to circulate online petitions and call out professors for “wrong speak.” In one case, according to Herzog, a professor was called out for using the terms “she” and “her,” and “father” and “son.” Students submitted a petition denouncing the professor for using “cisnormative” language. In response, the professor apologized to the class for their use of “binary” language.
The anonymous student who contacted Herzog said that in one such forum, a student denounced a professor for using terms like “male” and “female,” and broke into tears.
“This hypersensitivity is undermining medical training,” Herzog writes. “And many of these students are likely not even aware that their education is being informed by ideology.”
The wokeness in medical language is not exclusive to schools in the University of California system and has been adopted elsewhere, including the United Kingdom’s and Australia’s state-run health services, parts of which have adopted “gender-inclusive” language for maternity services. The BBC reported earlier this year that hospitals in the Brighton NHS Trust in Britain adopted trans-friendly terms, replacing “breastfeeding” with “chestfeeding” and “expectant mother” with “birthing parent.”