Democrats Erase Women Through Budget ‘Reconciliation’

According to Senate rules, reconciliation packages should be limited to budget issues. The reconciliation process, which Democrats hope to pass through in 2021 with a $3.5 trillion tax and-spend bill, offers the opportunity for radical gender activists to insert their ideology and language into federal legislation.

For instance, the text on “Maternal Mortality” (Part 4 of Subtitle J of Title III) consists of 15 sections that appropriate funds for a range of grants and programs for research and education on women’s health.

And yet, in these sections discussing mothers who might face high-risk conditions related to childbearing, we find gender-neutral terminology repeated 18 times in more than half of the 15 sections: “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals.”

While “individual” or “person” is common in legal documents when the referent could be male or female, that doesn’t explain what’s happening here. This is an attempt to make legal terminology compatible with an ideology that rejects the inherent binary of male or female.

Subtitle J’s use of the generic “individuals” with “pregnant,” “lactating,” or “postpartum” is different even from the rest of the bill. A separate section on Medicaid, for instance, refers to “pregnant and postpartum women.” But in such cases, the bill is referring to past legislation that already uses the word “women,” such as the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 1994.

Often this involves direct quotes from laws already on the books, so gender editors must leave the “offending” words in place.

It is obvious that references to women are being eliminated whenever possible. We’ve seen this Congress’ commitment to the woke left’s radical gender ideology since its opening days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.Calif., established a gender-neutral language standard for Congress in January.

This approach continues even when the bill addresses topics that are specific to women. In 2021, opting to refer to a woman as a “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individual” suggests that someone need not be a female to be pregnant, to lactate, or to suffer postpartum health complications.

This is, however, precisely the point. Some radical gender activists believe that being female is more a function o n nurture and self-designation, than biology and nature. This language reflects this conviction.

Alas, this woke language won’t just be kept in federal filing cabinets as an artifact of history. It will direct the spending on hundreds of millions. This direction can be very specific.

For instance, Part 4 of Subtitle J appropriates funds that may be used to train America’s medical professionals. Section 31046 reserves $85 million in competitive grants, which are available to eligible, accredited medical programs and programs that wish to study the health effects on maternal mortality from climate change.

Grantees are required to use the funds for continuing education and curricula. Those programs must focus on “identifying and addressing health risks and disparities associated with climate change, counseling, and mitigation strategies in addressing these risks and disparities.”

But there’s an option for those less concerned about the role of changing global temperature averages on lactation. Medical schools can also use the funds to study “implicit and explicit bias, racism, and discrimination in providing care to pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals and individuals with the intent to become pregnant.”

Of course, in the abstract, funding to develop curricula on discrimination and bias toward “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals” might sound nice. But let’s not be naive about its effect, which is to impose curricula committed to gender ideology through the power of the federal purse. It would do this under the cover of preventing “discrimination.”

It doesn’t matter if this funding will improve the well-being or the health of mothers-to-be. However, the inclusion of such gender-neutral language shows that this is more than just helping mothers. Rather, it’s about injecting a woman-erasing ideology into society from the federal level.

Activists are working to advance this cause with the Equality Act, which would insinuate gender ideology in civil rights laws. But they’re also exploiting every chance to erase references to women—from civil society and the classroom to the executive branch.

Wary legislators and legislative staff should reject these efforts to advance radical gender ideology incrementally—and expose it to the light of day before it finds its way further into the language of our laws.

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