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Despite extensive training in anatomy, New York City’s top medical doctor seems unclear on the biological concept of birth and pregnancy and prompted swift backlash after utilizing a gender-neutral term to refer to pregnant women.
Dr. Michelle Morse – who has been with the Department of Health since February 2021 – initially tweeted to announce an expansion of the citywide “birth equity” initiative and to bring to light a disparity in mortality rates of newborns of different races.
But that woke message was outdone by another. In a follow-up message, she used the progressive left’s term “birthing people” instead of just saying “pregnant women.”
To make matters worse, Blacks and Puerto Ricans were called mothers but only “non-Hispanic Whites” were referred to using the superfluous term “birthing people.”
“The urgency of this moment is clear. Mortality rates of birthing people are too high, and babies born to Black and Puerto Rican mothers in this city are three times more likely to die in their first year of life than babies born to non-Hispanic White birthing people,” she tweeted on March 23.
The urgency of this moment is clear. Mortality rates of birthing people are too high, and babies born to Black and Puerto Rican mothers in this city are three times more likely to die in their first year of life than babies born to non-Hispanic White birthing people.
— Dr. Michelle E. Morse (@NYCHealthCMO) March 23, 2022
Social media users pounced on the city’s Chief Medical Officer for offending women across the board with one woman calling for outright revocation of her ability to practice medicine.
White Mothers are called ‘birthing people’ and black and Puerto Rican Mothers are called Mothers? Your license to practice medicine should be revoked.
— Kimberly Morin (@Conservativeind) March 24, 2022
Also, uh…can you not decide if they’re mothers or birthing people? Cause you used both.
Maybe go for a walk in Birthing Person Nature and think about it before tweeting next time
— Ian Miller (@ianmSC) March 24, 2022
BIRTHING PEOPLE? How dare you? We’re called women. If you can’t get that part right, why would anyone listen to you about anything else.
— monkeema (@monkeema) March 24, 2022
Others focused on what they felt was inherent racism woven into her comment where she used different terminology for different races.
Don’t make excuses for this bullshit. If a white person called black people birthing persons and white women mothers, everyone would be flipping out. If exposing racism is the message, then that goes for EVERYONE
— NobyOne (@no_morepolitics) March 25, 2022
However, it’s not unusual for New York City to consider race in its health care system.
Last year, the Department of Health issued guidance that incorporated race as a factor in considering Covid-19 treatments. Officials advised that they would “consider race and ethnicity when assessing individual risk,” also noting that “longstanding systemic health and social inequities” play a factor in risks from Covid-19.
A Harvard epidemiologist and professor told the New York Post that economic factors are to blame for the increased risk of death for black New Yorkers – not race.
“I have not seen [race] as one of the risk factors for severe disease and death,” Martin Kulldorff said. “The reason that a lot of African Americans have died in New York – which is true – is because the rich people and more affluent were working from home while the working class were exposed.”
Some people found the underlying issue of a well-educated medical professional espousing such woke terminology the most concerning aspect of the doctor’s message.
If you’re wondering why trust in the medical profession is rapidly eroding, this tweet is a great place to start
— Ian Miller (@ianmSC) March 24, 2022
By calling mothers ‘birthing people’ you’ve offended a huge amount of people and managed to lose the message you were trying to convey.
This is why correct language matters.
Your info is important, but is now ignored.
Learn from it.
Women give birth and they’re all mothers.
— sekhmet (@sekhmet86043280) March 24, 2022
But some were simply so taken aback by the tone-deaf comment that they questioned whether or not they were being played.
I honestly can’t tell if this is satire or not.
— bears-russian-bot (@bears_43) March 24, 2022
A Department of Health spokesperson backpedaled on Morse’s comment, calling it an “oversight,” according to a report by the New York Post.
And then the spokesperson proceeded to double down on using the gender-neutral term.
“We apologize for inadvertently gendering Black and Puerto Rican birthing people.”
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