Australia’s minister for government services has stepped in and ordered the removal of the term “birthing parent” from Medicare documents.
Bill Shorten, the minister for government services, said the forms were used in a pilot program rolled out across three hospitals under the previous government.
“When I was informed of this situation yesterday, I instructed the responsible officials they should cease using the previous government’s forms,” he wrote on Twitter.
“They will be replaced with new forms that use the word mother, not birthing parent, which is consistent with other Medicare forms.”
1/3 Just regarding the story in the Daily Tele about a form that was part of a pilot program launched in 3 hospitals under the previous Coalition Government.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) July 20, 2022
The issue was publicised by mother Sall Grover, who posted the form on her Twitter account while calling it “derogatory.”
Liberal Party Senator Claire Chandler said the incident was not a “one-off.”
“The public service spends taxpayers’ money on lobby groups which come up with this sort of rubbish. This will keep happening until there is a government-wide directive to respect sex-based language,” she wrote on Facebook.
Lawyer Peter Janssen said that “being a mother is far more than a physical act. To reduce it to that is demeaning.”
“Motherhood is about a position of lifelong love and nurturing which may or may not include the physical act of birthing on one day in a child’s life,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
“The thought police have reduced motherhood to the act of giving birth and expunged the name and thus the value of ‘mother’ in society.”
The incident comes as transgender ideology continues to take root in the public sphere with increasingly widespread recognition of non-binary genders.
For example, in June, the Australian head of the federal Health Department, Brendan Murphy, struggled to define a woman during a Senate Estimates hearing when asked by Liberal Senator Alex Antic.
“It’s a very contested space at the moment, Senator. I mean, there are obviously biological definitions, but there are definitions in terms of how people identify themselves, so we’re happy to provide our working definition on notice,” he responded.
While in June, the world swimming body FINA voted to restrict transgender athletes from competing in women’s events. A majority of 71.5 percent of more than 190 members voted in favour of the new policy, which looks to create a separate category for transgender athletes.
Nina Nguyen contributed to this article.