Saying ‘pregnant women’ may exclude transsexuals, UK Govt tells UN

A UN human rights treaty should replace “pregnant women” with “pregnant people” to avoid offending transsexuals, the UK Government has said.

The Sunday Times reported that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) feared excluding “transgender people who have given birth”.

But following a backlash, the Prime Minister’s spokesman has said the term “pregnant women” is ‘of course acceptable’.

Political rights covenant

The FCO was submitting a proposed amendment to the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

First adopted by the UN in 1966, and signed by the UK ten years later, Part III states that the death penalty “shall not be carried out on pregnant women”.

But in its suggested change, the UK Government put forward the transgender proposal.


Sarah Ditum, a feminist writer, criticised the submission: “This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable.

“Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’.

“Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”


The Government yesterday sought to downplay the issue, with the Prime Minister’s spokesman telling journalists the FCO’s comments had been in relation to “one specific case” and “nobody in Government is objecting to the term pregnant women.”

“Of course pregnant women is an acceptable term”, the spokesman added.

The FCO said: “The UK does not object to the use of the term ‘pregnant woman’.

“We strongly support the right to life of pregnant women, and we have requested that the Human Rights Committee does not exclude pregnant transgender people from that right to life.”


Earlier this month, it was revealed that the question ‘what is your sex’ could be dropped from the next census, over concerns about transsexualism.

A report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that asking people to declare their sex is “irrelevant, unacceptable and intrusive, particularly to trans participants”.

The document even states that meeting the needs of trans respondents should take precedence over “data requirements”.

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