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Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Encourages Use of ‘Chestfeeding,’ ‘Gender-Inclusive Language’

A transgender rights activist waves a transgender flag, N.Y., May 24, 2019. (Demetrius Freeman/Reuters)

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international organization of physicians that conducts research educating, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding, recently published new guidelines encouraging the use of “gender-inclusive language” in describing women who perform the practice.

“ABM recognizes that not all people who give birth and lactate identify as female, and that some of these individuals identify as neither female nor male. To be inclusive of all people in our written materials, use of desexed or gender-inclusive language (e.g., using “lactating person” instead of “mother”) is appropriate in many settings,” the report reads. The Washington Times first broke the news of the report.

The document, titled “Infant Feeding and Lactation-Related Language and Gender,” was endorsed by the group and authored by eight doctors. It suggested that the updated terminology is an attempt to rectify potentially dangerous discriminatory behavior against “vulnerable populations.”

“Implicit biases affect the language we use, and thereby contribute to gender inequality and health inequities, which contribute, in turn, to rising morbidity and mortality of vulnerable populations,” the doctors wrote.

The organization’s notice comes after the Biden administration released a 2021 budget proposal that used the phase “birthing people” in lieu of “mothers” referencing race-based disparities in maternal mortality rates. After the wording received backlash from Republican lawmakers, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young doubled-down on the redefinition of mothers.

Republican critics blasted the phrase as derogatory and dismissive of the exclusively female pregnancy experience and claimed it reduced women to their reproductive capabilities.

In its statement, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommended the medical field adopt the same phrase.

“‘Birthing people’ may be substituted for ‘mothers’ so that non-female people are included, but this term would also include gestational carriers, gestational surrogates, and women whose infants are adopted by others, and such people may not fall within an author’s intended meaning,” the statement added.

The organization has yet to modify its own name to fit the new progressive standard it is promoting.

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