Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky repeatedly referred to “pregnant people,” instead of “pregnant women,” during a press briefing Thursday.
“For pregnant people who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, we are strengthening our guidance and recommending that all pregnant people or people thinking about becoming pregnant get vaccinated,” she said.
Walensky said the CDC has obtained new data about “people who were pregnant,” ensuring the vaccines are safe for “pregnant people.”
The increased circulation of the highly contagious delta variant, the general low vaccine uptick among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever.
The Biden White House has worked to make their language more gender-neutral and be respectful of people struggling with their gender identity and their preferred pronouns.
In June, the Biden administration referred to “birthing people” to replace the word “mothers” in their budget, prompting mockery and outrage from Republicans.
Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young defended the term in an exchange with Rep. Jason Smith during a congressional hearing.
“There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female or male so we think our language needs to be more inclusive, and how we deal with complex issues,” she said.