The NHS has reportedly been ordered by the U.K. government to use the word "woman" or "women" instead of wokespeak phrases such as "people with ovaries."
The United Kingdom's Health Secretary Sajid Javid has reportedly spoken out against the National Health Service (NHS)'s adoption of "gender-free language," which was observed when it removed references to women in its online health advice pages for cancers specific to women only. Now, Javid wants the NHS to use the proper term "woman" or "women" instead of wokespeak phrases such as "people with ovaries."
Breitbart reported that Javid is concerned that the NHS is prioritizing woke ideology over the health outcomes of female patients after warnings that health advice that uses wokespeak may confuse people who speak English as a second language. Earlier this month, the NHS had updated its online pages on cervical, ovarian, and womb cancer to remove all references to women, which sparked backlash.
Health Secretary Urges to Err on the Side of Science in Naming Sexes
Javid, who began serving as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since June 2021 and is a member of the Conservative Party, explained to the Daily Mail that as the health secretary, he believes that "your sex matters, your biological sex is incredibly important to make sure you get the right treatment, the very best treatment."
"I know there's some sensitivity around this language, but we have to use common sense and use the right language so that we can give people the best possible patient care," Javid stressed.
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Like Javid, child health expert and professor Dr. Karleen Gribble of Western Sydney University agreed that gender-free terms are "less accessible" and may have deadly consequences, the Daily Mail reported. She pointed to the "potential harm" and "fatal delay in seeking health care" that wokespeak can cause.
The NHS website's section on ovarian cancer was recently scrubbed off the word "woman" or "women," instead explaining that "anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer," including "trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with ovaries."
Researchers Find Gender-neutral Wokespeak Dehumanizes Women
A paper from 10 prominent women's health researchers from Australia, the US, Europe and Asia has recently found that replacing words such as "women" and "mothers" to "birth-givers" and "pregnant people" in research can not only dehumanize women but also affect decades of work to increase visibility of women in medical literature, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in January.
Researchers argued that replacing the term "breastfeeding" with "lactating parents" may result in "reducing protection of the mother-infant [bond]" and "disembodying and undermining breastfeeding". The researchers argued further that the "inclusive" language that is seen as "beneficial, kind, and inclusive" has "unintended consequences" and "serious implications for women and children."
Changes in terminologies used to refer to sexes in medical literature has become a point of contention in the UK, U.S., Australia, and other developed countries. Governments and healthcare institutions now face a challenge to be more inclusive in the advent of the LGBT movement while ensuring women's rights are now diminished.
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