The UK government objected to the term “pregnant woman” in a United Nations treaty, claiming the term “excludes” transgender people who give birth and should be replaced with “pregnant people,” reports said Sunday.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) voiced their opposition to the term in a statement regarding the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that asserts a “pregnant woman” must be protected and not subjected to the death penalty, The Sunday Times reported.
In a proposed amendment, the government said the term “pregnant woman” should be substituted with “pregnant people” because otherwise it may “exclude transgender people who have given birth.”
“We requested that the UN human rights committee made it clear that the same right [to life for pregnant women] extends to pregnant transgender people,” the FCO said in a statement.
The proposal sparked fury among prominent feminists, who called the suggestion insulting. “This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable,” feminist Sarah Ditum told the Times.
“Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’. Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”
The move follows the UK government’s position to foster transgender inclusivity. Last week, Prime Minster Theresa May unveiled plans to go ahead with the so-called Gender Recognition Act that allows people to “self-certify” their gender.
Critics of the bill, according to the Times, are concerned that the ability to self-identify could let biological men to get legal access to women’s shelters, changing rooms, hospitals and participate in women’s competitive sports.