The CDC came under fire today for its decision to drop the word “women” from the monkeypox guideline in favor of the term “pregnant people.”
Former Trump administration staffer Roger Severino said the move was yet another “dangerous” sign of edgy gender ideology creeping into crucial health advice.
The CDC came under fire last year for erasing “women” from Covid vaccine advice in favor of the gender-neutral term.
The new monkeypox pregnancy guide was released in July, when more than 100 cases of the virus were being detected in the US each week.
It warns that an infection could seriously hinder fetal development and could lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.
The agency urges to prioritize treatment for pregnant and lactating “people” who contract the virus.
Reacting to the monkeypox guidance, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) said it was an attempt to wipe out “half the human race”.
Critics argue that desexualizing important health advice will confuse messages aimed at keeping women safe, especially those who are vulnerable or whose first language is not English.
Severino, vice president of domestic policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told DailyMail.com: “It’s becoming the standard for this administration.
“They’re trying to replace the scientific realities about sex with a gender ideology, which is dangerous, ultimately.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention replaced the mention of “women” with “people” in pregnancy guidelines to protect against monkey pox.
WILL THE CDC WAKE UP?
The agency has come under fire several times in recent months for using gender-neutral language about the terms “women,” “woman” or “women.”
August 11, 2021: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky encourages all “people who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and those who are breastfeeding” to get the Covid vaccine.
July 1, 2022: The agency warns that “people who are pregnant or recently pregnant” are at greater risk than non-pregnant people of severe Covid infection.
Autumn 2022: The agency’s guidelines for annual flu shots encourage “pregnant people (and people up to two weeks postpartum)” to get vaccinated.
“Pregnant People” is designed to be more inclusive of transgender and non-binary people who can also conceive.
A woman who transitions to a man keeps her uterus unless it is surgically removed, meaning trans men have the ability to get pregnant.
But conservatives say the attempt at inclusion itself excludes another group that has long faced discrimination: women.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the right-wing AAPS, told DailyMail.com that by using gender-neutral language, the CDC is “saying that half the human race doesn’t exist or is the same as the other half”.
He added: “So much for evidence-based medicine.”
CDC guidance says that symptoms in “pregnant people” are similar to “non-pregnant people.”
But pregnant and lactating “people” should be prioritized for antiviral treatments because of the potential risk to their unborn child.
It’s unclear whether the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine causes fetal harm, so doctors should weigh the risks and benefits, according to the CDC.
However, the agency emphasizes that clinical studies of the vaccine in animals “have not shown any evidence of harm to the developing fetus.”
Early symptoms of monkeypox infection usually include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion.
Within days of the first symptoms, patients will develop a rash and lesions that spread from the face to the entire body.
Former Trump officials criticize the CDC for removing the word “women” in the context of pregnancy from monkeypox safety instructions.
Severino, the former director of the Office of Civil Rights for Health and Human Services under former President Donald Trump, said the CDC’s continued use of gender-neutral terms in its boards was an “attempt to deny that it is [biological female] women who become pregnant’.
He added: “And this has consequences for health as well as politics in the future.”
The vast majority (99%) of cases of monkeypox have been in men, and 94% of these patients recently had sexual intercourse or intimate contact with another man.
But experts fear the outbreak could spread further among other parts of the population.
There have already been more than 150 confirmed cases in children since May, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and dozens of infections in women.
Monkey pox is spread when someone comes into close contact with another infected person’s lesions, clothing, or bedding.
The CDC puts the current global case count at around 65,000. The United States leads the world in confirmed cases with approximately 25,000 as of September 14.
The official monkey pox safety guide is just the latest health issue to find itself in the crosshairs of the culture war.
The abortion rights movement has adopted more gender-neutral language to describe people affected by the Supreme Court’s June decision to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion.
The abortion rights group NARAL, for example, advised activists in 2020 to refer to abortion as a women’s issue.
But two years later, the group advises activists to use non-gender terminology “to be more inclusive of trans men, non-binary people and gender non-conforming people”.