A prestigious British medical body has sparked fury after inviting an organisation which claims it is a ‘myth’ that only women get pregnant to give a seminar for International Women’s Day.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) event is advertised as an opportunity for participants to discuss ways to challenge sexism in healthcare.
But the appointment of lead speaker, Tori Ford, founder of not-for-profit Medical Herstory, has attracted controversy.
Medical Herstory has claimed a major myth about pregnancy is that ‘all pregnant people are women’.
Instead, the organisation uses the more inclusive term ‘pregnant people’ as it covers transmen, nonbinary people and ‘other gender non-conforming individuals’.
Feminist groups have criticised the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) for inviting Medical Herstory to give a talk on International Women’s Day after the latter said it was a ‘myth’ that all pregnant people are women
The RCOG event, to be held tomorrow, was about tackling medical sexism towards women
Medical Herstory, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to gender health equity founder Tori Ford has been invited to speak at the RCOG event
Feminists and maternity care groups said RCOG’s decision to invite Medical Herstory for the International Women’s Day was ‘disappointing’ and that inclusive language shouldn’t come at the expense of ‘erasing the majority’ of the women.
Feminist author Milli Hill said while she welcomed the college’s aim of challenging medical sexism this International Women’s Day, Medical Herstory’s involvement was concerning.
‘Sexism happens to women because of their sex,’ she said.
‘It’s therefore disappointing to see that RCOG have commissioned a group who, in spite of the promising name Medical Herstory, appear to be confused about the difference between sex and gender.
‘Their Instagram post that states the number one most common pregnancy myth is that “all pregnant people are women” is a classic example of this.’
She added Medical Herstory was mistaken about the biological reality of pregnancy.
‘Everyone who gets pregnant is female, no matter how they wish to identify,’ she said.
Ms Hill also said while all individuals should be treated with respect, widespread inclusive language should not erase women, especially in the fight against sexism.
‘Language should not be changed at population level, erasing the majority to suit a very small minority,’ she said.
‘Fighting sex-based oppression requires sex-based language.’
Maternity care advocacy coalition With Woman were also critical of Medical Herstory’s involvement in the RCOG seminar.
Anna, a spokesperson for the group, said: ‘We welcome the RCOG focus on women’s day. We believe in tackling stigma in women’s health services.
‘However, the fact that there is stigma is because it’s women. It is sexism and oppression of women that creates the problem.
‘Herstory stating that it is a myth that all pregnant people are women are missing the whole point of the stigma.’
She added that while health professionals will always treat individual patients with respect, tackling sexism required recognising women.
‘As health care professionals we treat everyone with dignity and their requested language, but when we are tackling stigma in women’s health services we need to start with a sex-based analysis,’ she said.
‘You need a sex-based analysis to tackle sexism and therefore women’s health stigma.’
In a post on the Medical Herstory Instagram account, the organisation stated it was a ‘myth’ that all ‘pregnant people’ were women.
It goes on to state some pregnant people ‘may face social barriers while pregnant’ including ‘care providers who do not respect their pronouns’.
Here are some examples of the woke language changes that have engulfed the NHS . Some of these have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals
Medical Herstory goes on to urge people to use more inclusive language when referring to pregnant people.
An spokesperson for RCOG said: ‘Our webinar is exploring stigma and shame that perpetuate health inequities, by deterring people from seeking care and undermining the ability to receive quality care.’
‘This reflects our commitment to tackling stigma within health services, reducing health inequities and supporting the health workforce to provide quality, respectful care to all’
Medical Herstory was also contacted for comment.
Only biological females can get pregnant as biological males do not have either the eggs to conceive a child, nor a womb to carry a baby to term.
This remains true for trans individuals, with only female-to-male transgender people, transmen, capable of getting pregnant.
However, some scientists have touted the idea of providing womb transplants to transwomen, people who are biologically male to allow them to experience pregnancy.
Women being erased in health information has become an issue of growing concern in the NHS.
Gender-specific terms have been quietly scrubbed off official advice sites under a woke inclusivity drive.
Pages on ovarian, womb and cervical cancer as well as the menopause, which only biological women can suffer, have all been affected.