Outspoken reality star Angie Kent has criticised Bill Shorten for his ‘disappointing’ decision to scrap the term ‘birthing parent’ on Medicare forms. The Labor government services minister last week swiftly moved to replace the term, which trans activists say is more ‘inclusive’, with the word ‘mother’ after public outcry.
The former Bachelorette, who is known for her progressive views, called the move ‘bizarre and so disappointing’, and said ‘no one asked for’ the terminology to be changed. ‘It is 2022, why are we doing this? [That] is the question that I want to ask,’ she added.
Kent, 32, discussed the controversy with her friend Yvie Jones on their podcast Two Girls One Pod on Tuesday, saying it was a waste of ‘time and money’ to change the language on the forms.
Jones, 49, agreed it was ‘a step backwards’, saying: ‘”Birthing parent” is very inclusive and wide-ranging, because there are a lot of humans who are birthing parents. ‘And there are a lot of humans who can’t be birthing parents. I think labelling it “mother” is really taking that inclusivity away from so many people.’
Recently, in a move to include transgender men and non-binary people who give birth, new consent forms using the term ‘birthing parent’ instead of ‘mother’ were introduced at three hospitals across Australia for a trial period.
Jones also noted that inclusive terms such as parent, primary caregiver, next of kin and guardian have been regularly used in official documentation for years.
However, the NDIS and government services minister Mr Shorten cut the trial short after three weeks, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘I’m sure my instinct to defuse ugly culture wars is right.’
He said Australian migrant families not familiar with gender-neutral titles would become confused by the term ‘birthing parent’. The backlash to the term ‘birthing parent’ began when Gold Coast mother Sall Grover said the language was ‘exclusionary, alienating and derogatory’ to women.