Access to abortion does not only affect women

For more information about your reproductive health rights and related federal resources, you can visit the US Government Reproductive rights site.

In June, the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wadeeffectively ending the constitutional right to abortion and allowing individual countries to decide whether or not to impose bans. The end of Roe will have a ripple effect on women healthcare in generaleven beyond access to abortion — miscarriages, birth control and all infertility treatments can be affected.

But it’s not just about women’s rights. Access to abortion affects anyone who is able to conceive, which can include trans men and intersex men, non-binary or gender-expansive the people. All these persons are affected by abortion policybut trans and intersex people may find it even more difficult to access competent health care.

Below, learn more about how trans and intersex people are affected by pregnancy and abortion laws, why inclusion matters, and what it looks like in practice.

Not just women

There is 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States, a figure that is probably a I greatly underestimate. Many transgender men are able to get pregnant because they have a uterus and ovaries. And there are plenty of people who are non-binary, gender queer, or otherwise don’t fit neatly into the categories of “male” or “female” who can also get pregnant. Furthermore, intersex people they can get pregnant if they have a uterus and ovaries.

Although it is difficult to fight the age-old idea that femininity and childbirth are inextricably linked, the ability to conceive do not do they automatically make someone a woman. The reverse is also true—not all women can get pregnant, including trans women and cisgender women (someone assigned female at birth who identifies with this label) with fertility issues or having their ovaries or uterus removed.

A white-haired man in scrubs talks to a patient with genital fluid.

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Why inclusion matters

Much of the language surrounding pregnancy and abortion is directed at cis women—right down to popular terms like “women’s rights” and “mommy brain.” And while the majority of pregnant people are indeed cis women, the strong focus on gender can be alienating for many.

Trans, non-binary and intersex people have unique reproductive needs too routine experience lack of awareness or resources c health settings.

That’s why it’s important to use inclusive language when talking about pregnancy, abortion, parenting and reproductive health in general. At CNET, we use gender-neutral terms like “people” instead of “women.”

Gendered terms like “mom” and “breastfeeding” will also always have a place; many women love and use these terms often. But we should not assume that they apply to everyone. Updating your terminology is an easy transition to make long way to improving outcomes for pregnant people of all genders.

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Including conditions for pregnancy or abortion

Pregnant people: When in doubt, you can’t go wrong by simply using the word “people” where you previously used “women.” The term “people” is as inclusive as possible – it includes everyone. Other options include “individual”, “patient” or “parent”.

Using the term “people” also forces you to be more specific instead of making generalizations related to gender. For example, you can say “people who can get pregnant” or “people who are menstruating” instead of just “women”. This has the added benefit of being more considerate of women who don’t have a uterus, don’t menstruate, or can’t get pregnant for whatever reason.

Human right: When it comes to banning abortion, the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” often comes up. A more comprehensive alternative is to refer to abortion care as person right instead.

Birth parent or gestational parent: This term can replace “mother” to refer to an individual who carries and gives birth to a baby. It is also helpful for same-sex couples where both parents are mothers but only one is physically carrying the child.

Breastfeeding: Some trans and non-binary parents choose feed their babies with own milk. You can replace “breast” with “breast” and “breastfeeding” with “nursing”. Call the milk “breast milk” or “human milk.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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