Prof. Kristen Syrett talked about inclusive language in the context of reproductive rights in an article published on CNN.
The article, “The language we use to talk about pregnancy and abortion is changing. But not everyone welcomes the shift,” written by Harmeet Kaur, details the differences in perspectives on the use of gender-neutral language for reproductive issues. While official government publications, medical institutions, and advocacy groups have started using gender-neutral terms to describe people who get pregnant or have abortions, pushback has been fierce from conservatives.
Prof. Syrett explains that the discomfort from the use of words like “birthing parent” or “people who have abortions” as opposed to “women” comes from unfamiliarity to the broader scope of these terms. The anxiety from the perceived removal of womanhood from something traditionally associated with womanhood, she says, may feel natural to some. However, she reframes the issue as an opportunity to reexamine what it means to choose between gendered and gender-neutral words in these contexts.