A DFL bill making its way through the Minnesota Legislature would replace the words “woman” and “mother” with the term “pregnant person” in some state statutes.
The bill, HF 2095, amends existing statutes dealing with prenatal substance use. In doing so, it replaces the words “mother” and “woman” with “pregnant person.”
Republicans objected to this change during a House committee hearing Thursday.
“Mothers are women, pregnant people are women, and pregnant people are mothers. These are all facts. The fact that we have to have a testifier come up here and just state basic biological reality is a sad testament to the state of where we’re at as a culture,” said Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville.
Having given birth to two babies, Rep. Natalie Zeleznikar said she finds the change “completely offensive.”
“The capacity to get pregnant rests with being a woman. I think that’s a basic thing to be able to say as a legislative body,” said Zeleznikar, a Republican from Fredenberg Township.
Bill author Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, responded to the criticism, saying the purpose of her legislation is to “ensure that people with the capacity to get pregnant have access to the services and support that they need.”
Frustrated by Richardson’s use of the phrase “people with the capacity to get pregnant,” Rep. Ben Davis, R-Merrifield, asked Richardson to define a woman, which she declined to do.
“You did not answer my question and that’s fine,” Davis said. “I guess I’m sitting here discouraged that there has to be controversy around the definition of a woman.”
Rep. Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger, DFL-Woodbury, who has a masters degree in genetics, also addressed the GOP’s objections.
“To say that gender, which is an identifying term, is determined on solely one gene on one pair of chromosomes is inaccurate,” she claimed.
The bill will now go to the Health Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.