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What Ann Romney, a mother of 5, thinks about the term ‘birthing person’

Mitt Romney, wife Ann and their youngest grandson, Dane, wave to the crowd as Mitt Romney claims victory in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate
Mitt Romney, with his wife, Ann, and their youngest grandson, Dane, wave to the crowd as Mitt Romney claimed victory in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Orem on June 26, 2018. A mother of five sons, Ann Romney is taking issue with the Biden administration’s use of the term “birthing person” in its federal budget proposal.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

A mother of five sons, Ann Romney is taking issue with the Biden administration’s use of the term “birthing person” in its federal budget proposal.

“I’m not the ‘birthing person’ of five boys, I’m their mother. With all the sacrifice, joy, commitment, hardship, and love that comes with that. The Biden Administration diminishing motherhood to ‘birthing person’ is simply insulting to all moms,” the wife of Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted over the weekend.

The issue obviously struck a chord with Ann Romney, who hadn’t tweeted about anything since wishing people a merry Christmas last December. Mitt Romney retweeted his wife shortly after her post. Utah GOP Gov. Spencer Cox also retweeted Ann Romney.

In addition to being the parents of five sons, the Romneys have 24 grandchildren.

President Joe Biden’s federal budget plan in a section on infant mortality rates refers to birthing people rather than mothers. Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies also use the term, as do some Democrats.

“The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other women of color. To help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people — and in addition to the investment in maternal health in the American Families Plan — the budget includes more than $200 million” for a variety of programs, the 2022 White House budget proposal reads.

In a House hearing last week, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., questioned Shalanda Young, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, about use of the term.

“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 in how we deal with complex issues,” Young said.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., confronted Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in Senate hearing last week about using “birthing people instead of mothers even though the science is clear that women give birth,” according to a press release from the senator’s office.

“I was a little taken aback when I just read it and saw that the term mother was gone in spots and it was replaced with birthing people,” Lankford said, asking Becerra for an explanation.

“I’ll check on the language there, but I think if we’re talking about those who give birth, I think we’re talking about ... I don’t know how else to explain it to you other than ...,” he said.

Lankford said language is always important.

“Would you at least admit that calling a mom a birthing person could be offensive to some moms, that they don’t want to get a ‘Happy birthing person card’ in May? Can you at least admit that term itself could be offensive to some moms?” the senator asked.

Becerra replied, “Senator, I’ll go back and take a look at the terminology that was used and I could get back to you, but again, if we’re trying to be precise in the language that’s used.”

Lankford said “mom” is a pretty good word that has worked for a while.

“I think it’s pretty precise as well,” he added.

The tweet by Ann Romney, who has 166,000 followers on Twitter, triggered a long string of negative and positive reactions.

“Please read up on the matter and why the term is used, as it does not diminish motherhood but rather is speaking specifically on lives lost during childbirth and this includes not just those termed ‘mothers’ but also surrogates and trans-moms or dads- that give birth,” read one post.

Another tweet read, “Dear Ms. Romney, I’m a Democrat and a mother and I agree with you. ‘Birthing person’ sounds like it comes from a science fiction movie. Until such time as non-females can give birth, the word mother should the used!”

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wondered what the change in terminology means for fathers.

“If moms are ‘birthing persons’ then what are dads on Father’s Day?” he wrote. “Americans are being bombarded with ads for gifts for that special day for fathers. Should I say ‘sperm contributors’ in preparation for our complete capitulation to the woke?”