I have a confession to make. I’m hopelessly behind the curve. Excuse my language, but I’m … old-fashioned. I’m one of those Neanderthals who is so unwoke that I actually believe — forgive me again, please — that only women can get pregnant and have babies.
But at least I’m open to new ideas — and trust me, there is no shortage of new ideas about who’s capable of childbirth.
Let’s start with the progressives in lefty-land at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They quoted the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBiden's Supreme Court commission ends not with a bang but a whimper The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle Why do progressives want to cancel women? MORE on abortion, but instead of quoting her accurately, this is what came out of the ACLU’s woke sensibilities:
“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity.”
Justice Ginsburg wrote about women, not “persons.” So the ACLU apologized for tampering with her actual words. But the folks over there apparently know something about who can and who can’t “bear a child” that I don’t know. There’s a line in a great old love song about how “The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.” Don’t bet on it.
And the ACLU is hardly alone in noticing that “people” — not just women — should have the right to an abortion.
In September, House Democrats introduced a bill that states its purpose is “To protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.”
Note the word “person’s,” instead of “woman’s.” Then, a little further down into the bill, the Dems explain their reasoning: “This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy — cisgender women, transgender men, nonbinary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.”
I’m not saying I disagree with any of that. But I am saying that, after reading those words, I have a headache.
Then there’s the Department of Justice (DOJ), which put out a brief against the Texas abortion law — a brief that refers to “any individuals who become pregnant.” I’m not cool enough to understand why the DOJ didn’t simply say “any woman who becomes pregnant.”
And the folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want everyone to know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for “pregnant people.”
The White House’s 2022 fiscal year budget replaced the word “mothers” with “birthing people” in a section about public health funding. This prompted Jessica Anderson, of the conservative Heritage Action, to tweet, “Why does [President] Biden want to cancel mothers?”
There’s even a “Birthing People’s Bill of Rights.” No fooling. I found it on the web.
And on a website called “Parents,” I read an essay by someone named Amber Leventry who wrote that, “Transgender men (men who were assigned female at birth based on their biological sex) and nonbinary folks like me (those who don't identify as either male or female) can and do get pregnant.”
Nicole Ault, who writes for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, says that, “Language and the law are inseparable. If we erase sex-specific words from our language, we erase, too, what it means to be a man or a woman. Where does it stop? There are people — you can look it up — who identify as not human. Is ‘person’ an insensitive term?”
I did look it up — and here’s what I found on the University of Cambridge’s website: “As social beings, a sense of identity plays an important role in our relations — and in our own happiness. But identity doesn’t have to be narrowly human.”
In the article was a picture of a young woman who obviously doesn’t identify as a human, with this caption: “When people ask me ‘How does it feel to be a cat?’ I’m like, ‘How does it feel to be a human?’”
I’m so confused! I used to believe all the “birds and bees” stuff. But then, I’m a pathetic cisgender man, so what do I know? Actually that’s a rhetorical question because I do know this much: The fundamental things no longer apply as time goes by.
Bernard Goldberg is an Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award-winning writer and journalist. He was a correspondent with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” for 22 years and previously worked as a reporter for CBS News and as an analyst for Fox News. He is the author of five books and publishes exclusive weekly columns, audio commentaries and Q&As on his Patreon page. Follow him on Twitter @BernardGoldberg.