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Why abortion is more than just a women’s rights issue

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to reveal a ruling that could overturn Roe vs. Wadewho established the constitutional right to abortion. If Roe is knocked down, it’s not hard to see what impact that would have on the women. Roe’s end would have a ripple effect on general health careeven beyond access to abortion – miscarriages, birth control and Plan B could all be affected.

But the question has even broader implications. Pregnancy isn’t just for women — it affects anyone capable of getting pregnant, which can include trans men and intersex, non-binary, or gender-expansive people. All of these people are affected by abortion policy, but for trans and intersex people, it can be even more difficult to access competent care.

Below, find out how trans and intersex people are affected by the pregnancy policy, why inclusivity matters, and what it looks like in practice.

Not just women

There are 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States, a figure that is likely grossly underestimated. Many transgender men are able to get pregnant because they have a uterus and ovaries. And there are plenty of people who aren’t binary, genderqueer, or don’t fit neatly into the “male” or “female” categories, who can also get pregnant. Also, intersex people can get pregnant if they have a uterus and ovaries.

While it’s hard to fight the age-old idea that femininity and childbirth are inextricably linked, the possibility of getting pregnant doesn’t automatically make someone a woman. The reverse is also true – not all women can become pregnant, including transgender women and cisgender women (a woman assigned at birth who identifies with this tag) with fertility issues or whose ovaries or the uterus were removed.

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Why Inclusivity Matters

Much of the language around pregnancy and abortion is aimed at cis women — right down to popular terms like “women’s center” and “mummy’s brain.” And while the majority of pregnant women are indeed cis women, the focus on gender can be alienating for many people.

Trans, non-binary, and intersex people also have unique reproductive needs, and they routinely suffer from a lack of awareness or resources in health care settings.

That’s why it’s important to use inclusive language when talking about pregnancy, abortion, parenthood, and reproductive health in general. At CNET, we use gender-neutral terms like “people” instead of “women.”

Gendered terms such as “mom” and “breastfeeding” will always have their place; many women love and often use these terms. But we shouldn’t assume they apply to everyone. Updating your terminology is an easy change that can go a long way to improve outcomes for pregnant women of all genders.

Why abortion is more than just a women’s rights issue

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Inclusive terms for pregnancy or abortion

Pregnant people: If in doubt, you can’t go wrong by just using the word “people” where you used to use “women” before. The term “people” is about as inclusive as it gets — it includes everyone. Other options include “individual”, “patient” or “relative”.

Using the term “people” also forces you to be more specific, rather than making gender-specific generalizations. For example, you could say “people who can get pregnant” or “people who menstruate” instead of just “women”. This has the added benefit of being more considerate of women who don’t have a uterus, don’t menstruate, or can’t get pregnant for some reason.

Human right: When it comes to prohibiting abortion, the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” often comes up. A more inclusive alternative is to see abortion care as a Human right instead.

biological parent Where gestational parent: This term can replace “mother” to designate a person who carries and gives birth to a baby. It is also useful for same-sex couples in which both parents are mothers, but only one physically carries the child.

Feeding with milk : Some trans and non-binary parents choose to feed their babies their own milk. You can replace “chest” with “breast” and “breastfeeding” with “breastfeeding”. Refer to milk as “breast milk” or “human milk”.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.


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