Adam Bandt slams decision to change ‘birthing parent’ back to ‘mother’

Greens leader Adam Bandt blows up after the words ‘birthing parent’ were taken off a healthcare form and replaced with mother – because the PC term ‘doesn’t exclude anyone’

  • Adam Bandt slammed government for switching ‘birthing parent’ to ‘mother
  • Gold Coast mother claimed term was appalling, offensive and dehumanising 
  • Consent form is part of new hospital trial to upload new baby details to Medicare
  • Bill Shorten said he reversed term back to ‘mother’ to avoid an ‘ugly’ culture war

Adam Bandt has slammed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese‘s government for switching the words ‘birthing parent’ back to ‘mother’ on a healthcare form.

The Greens leader condemned the backflip by NDIS and Government Services minister Bill Shorten at the weekend.

‘As leaders we have a duty to do the right thing despite the culture warrior tabloids,’ Mr Bandt tweeted on Friday.

‘”Birthing parent” includes LGBTQ+ people. It does not exclude anyone. I strongly encourage @billshortenmp to consult widely and reconsider this intervention.’

Adam Bandt has slammed the government for switching the term 'birthing parent' back to 'mother' on a healthcare form

Adam Bandt has slammed the government for switching the term ‘birthing parent’ back to ‘mother’ on a healthcare form

The Greens leader condemned the backflip made by NDIS and Government Services minister Bill Shorten on Thursday

The Greens leader condemned the backflip made by NDIS and Government Services minister Bill Shorten on Thursday

The new consent forms were introduced at three hospitals across Australia as part of a trial to upload newborn babies’ details to Medicare via digital means. 

The document asked for the ‘birthing parent’s full name’ in one box and ‘birthing parent’s signature’ in another, rather than ‘mother’.

Mr Shorten revealed on Monday he made the decision to switch the term back to ‘mother’ in a bid to avoid an ‘ugly’ culture war.

Sall Grover, from the Gold Coast, said she was shocked by the new consent forms handed to her shortly after giving birth to her newborn baby

Sall Grover, from the Gold Coast, said she was shocked by the new consent forms handed to her shortly after giving birth to her newborn baby 

‘I’m sure my instinct to defuse ugly culture wars is right,’ he told Sydney Morning Herald.

‘There are many people who feel the word ‘mother’ is special and worthy and there are others who feel their identity is not included – each has a legitimate point of view.

‘We just need to be better at not having to have one view at the expense of the other.’

Mr Shorten said cancelling the word ‘mother’ did not help the ’cause of diversity and tolerance’.

He argued replacing the term with ‘birthing parent’ would stir confusion among migrant families who were not aware of gender neutral, politically correct language.

Services Australia said the new forms were rolled out in March and filled out by 1,100 parents since the launch.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen told the Daily Telegraph the new terms had been ‘tested before being trialled’ and claimed feedback was positive.

Mr Shorten’s decision to change the titles on the forms comes after a new mother from the Gold Coast slammed the forms as ‘offensive’ and ‘alienating’ towards women who wanted to be called mothers. 

The new consent forms were introduced in three hospitals across Australia as a way to upload new baby details to Medicare digitally

The new consent forms were introduced in three hospitals across Australia as a way to upload new baby details to Medicare digitally 

Sall Grover said she was shocked by the new consent forms handed to her shortly after giving birth to her newborn baby.

Bill Shorten has defended a decision to change the term 'birthing parent' back to 'mother' on a healthcare form saying he wanted to avoid a culture war

Bill Shorten has defended a decision to change the term ‘birthing parent’ back to ‘mother’ on a healthcare form saying he wanted to avoid a culture war

‘Attention women in Australia: On the form to put our newborn baby on our Medicare card, we are referred to as ‘birthing parent,’ Ms Grover wrote.

‘Enough is enough. This absolute bulls*** is exclusionary, alienating and derogatory towards every woman who wants to be and is called ‘mother’.

‘I know enough what is happening at the moment with women’s rights, and the erosion of our language and spaces, so I know where it’s coming from.’

During an interview with the Today Show last Thursday, Ms Grover said the new consent forms were simply to please fringe activists and lobbyists.

‘The fact that it was on this government form saying ‘birthing parent’, shocked me,’ she said.

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic said he ‘couldn’t believe’ the form had been changed in the first place and described it as ‘bureaucracy gone crazy’. 

Poll

Do you think the word ‘mother’ should be replaced with ‘birthing parent’?

  • Yes 207 votes
  • No 1817 votes
  • Unsure 19 votes

Now share your opinion

Ms Grover replied: ‘Motherhood is about so much more than that, it is every other day from then, you have your first few days of excitement, being part of that and then you see ‘birthing parent’, are you reducing the role of me getting her here.’

She called on the people offended by the term ‘mother’ to ‘get help’.

‘If the word ‘mother’ bothers you so much, I mean motherhood is going to be quite a shock. Get help, go and deal with it if the word ‘mother’ bothers’, she said. 

Fellow host Ally Langdon said as a mother herself, she found the term ‘birthing parent’ dehumanising.

‘I feel divided about it if I’m perfectly honest. As someone who does identify as a mother, I see that and it’s sort off-putting to see birthing parent,’ she said.    

‘It’s dehumanising to me.

‘But I understand when the surrogate and, you know, it’s not one bill fits all.’

An emphatic Karl Stefanovic (left) said he 'couldn't believe' the form had been changed in the first place

An emphatic Karl Stefanovic (left) said he ‘couldn’t believe’ the form had been changed in the first place

The Gold Coast mother posted a photo of the new consent form to Twitter on Tuesday and described it as 'exclusionary, alienating and derogatory'

The Gold Coast mother posted a photo of the new consent form to Twitter on Tuesday and described it as ‘exclusionary, alienating and derogatory’

While the new mum received an outpouring of support from Aussies, some pointed out that the word ‘mother’ alienates other groups such as same-sex couples, adopted parents and surrogates. 

‘One form that uses inclusive language is not erasing/stealing your rights/whatever other nonsense you’re suggesting,’ one said.

‘Why is it ok to alienate other groups to keep you happy?

‘It removes ambiguity for situations with: lesbian couples, surrogate pregnancy, non-cis parents, adopted parents, and so many more situations.

‘By using ‘birthing parent’, it neatly and simply clarifies specifically which person they need the signature from.’

However others agreed that the words ‘birthing parent’ had no place on the form. 

‘Disgraceful. Becoming a mother was the most special time of my entire existence. It re-defined everything I thought I knew about myself,’ one wrote. 

‘Let us call ourselves MOTHERS! Cross it out and put ‘mother’.’

‘Anyone coming across this on forms should cross out the offending words & put MOTHER in block capitals,’ another agreed. 

‘If there is space, write on the form, saying that their description is offensive to women. This has come about because a tiny minority have banged on about being offensive.’

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