Australian govt forced to backtrack on calling women 'BIRTHING PARENTS' after huge outrage
The Australian government has backflipped on a proposal to use 'birthing parent' instead of 'mother' on a healthcare form, Minister for NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten has said. The new consent forms were initially introduced at three hospitals to confirm the way to upload new baby details to Medicare digitally. Instead of 'mother', the document asked for the 'birthing parent's full name' and 'birthing parent's signature.'
Shorten backtracked on the decision last week. "I'm sure my instinct to defuse ugly culture wars is right," he told Sydney Morning Herald. "There are many people who feel the word 'mother' is special and worthy and there are others who feel their identity is not included – each has a legitimate point of view. We just need to be better at not having to have one view at the expense of the other."
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According to Shorten, canceling the word 'mother' did not help the "cause of diversity and tolerance". Replacing the term with 'birthing parent,' he said, would confuse migrant families who were not aware of gender-neutral titles. Since the launch, new forms that were rolled out were filled out by 1,100 parents, Services Australia said.
Greens Leader Adam Bandt, who believes the term 'birthing parent' was inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, criticized Shorten for reversing the plan. Shorten's decision on the reversal came after a new mother from the Gold Coast said she thought the forms were 'offensive' and 'alienating' towards women who wished to be called mothers. The woman, Sall Grover, said the new consent forms were handed to her soon after she gave birth to her newborn baby.
"Attention women in Australia: On the form to put our newborn baby on our Medicare card, we are referred to as 'birthing parent'," Grover wrote on Twitter. "Enough is enough. This absolute bulls*** is exclusionary, alienating and derogatory towards every woman who wants to be and is called 'mother'."
Attention women in Australia:— Sall Grover (@salltweets) July 19, 2022
On the form to put our newborn baby on our Medicare card, we are referred to as “birthing parent”.
Enough is enough.
This absolute bullsh*t is exclusionary, alienating and derogatory towards every woman wants to be and is called “mother”. pic.twitter.com/li8vQSWGu6
"The fact that it was on this government form saying 'birthing parent,' shocked me," she said during an interview with the 'Today Show' last week. The show's host, Karl Stefanovic, responded that he "couldn't believe" the form had been changed in the first place. "Motherhood is about so much more than that, it is every other day from then, you have your first few days of excitement, being part of that and then you see 'birthing parent', are you reducing the role of me getting her here," Grover replied.
Grover said that people who get offended by the word 'mother' should 'get help.' "If the word 'mother' bothers you so much, I mean motherhood is going to be quite a shock. Get help, go and deal with it if the word 'mother' bothers'," she said.
Grover returned to the show after news about the new forms being dumped surfaced. "Since that interview went to air, Bill Shorten who is a regular on the show, has been in contact to confirm these forms have been dumped," Stefanovic said. "Replaced with new ones that use the word 'mother' not 'birthing parent'."
"I was actually just talking to my own mum about it and I was saying it's awesome, fantastic. No complaint," Grover said. "It doesn't take a genius to work out that it should have been 'mother' all along."
In the US, the Biden administration replaced the word 'mothers' with 'birthing people' in the 2022 fiscal year budget. However, the term 'maternal' was retained, although it is defined as relating to a mother. The National Education Association, which is the country’s largest labor union, recently proposed a resolution to alter the word 'mother' in contracts to 'birthing parent' to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community. "Using this contract language, members need not worry about how a Board of Education/solicitor defines ‘maternity leave,’ ‘mother,' and/or ‘father’; the language is an inclusive reflection of how LGBTQIA+ members build families," the proposed resolution said.
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