Evangelicals Can Agree: We’re Women, not ‘Bodies with Vaginas’

To verbally dismember women is denigration, not inclusion.

When the Supreme Court’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked in early May, a tweeted response from the American Civil Liberties Union had a curious omission: It listed groups the ACLU said would be disproportionately harmed by the end of Roe v. Wade (1973), but it didn’t mention women.

And this wasn’t the ACLU’s first foray into treating women as the-sex-who-must-not-be-named. The organization likewise marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by tweeting out a pro-choice quote painstakingly—and painfully—edited to erase all mention of women.

Nor is the ACLU alone in this new verbal habit. As a comprehensive New York Times report detailed this month, “women” has fallen into deliberate disuse by other activist groups, like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America; by medical organizations, like the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic, and The Lancet (a medical journal); and by government agencies, like municipal and state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Instead, these institutions and others, including many media outlets, are using phrases like “birthing persons,” “pregnant people,” “breastfeeding people” (or even “chestfeeding people” who make “human milk”), “cervix owners,” “people with eggs,” “uterus havers,” “those without a prostate,” “menstruators,” and “bodies with vaginas.”

If you’ve not heard those phrases before, …

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