California Dems Want To Teach Health Care Professionals That Men Can Get Pregnant

Bill would mandate training to undo 'layers of potential biases' that pregnancy and childbirth are female experiences

San Francisco mayor raises transgender flag (Pax Ahimsa Gethen/Wikimedia Commons)
February 21, 2024

California lawmakers are proposing mandatory training for OB-GYNs, midwives, and even maternity office receptionists that says women aren’t the only people who can get pregnant.

Legislation introduced last week by Democrats, which refers to pregnant women as "birthing people" and "nonbinary persons and persons of transgender experience," would require anyone involved in maternity care, from hospital cleaning staff to doctors, nurses, and even hospital-alternative birth centers, to undergo semi-annual training to undo their "multiple layers of potential biases" that pregnancy and childbirth are female experiences.

Hospitals, medical offices, and birth centers would have to deploy state-sanctioned training, although the bill does not specify who would write it. They would face fines up to $25,000 if they don’t comply. The centers could make their doctors and personnel take the training more frequently if they believe their staff are still showing bias.

The legislation would be the first of its kind and follows a push from transgender activists and state and federal government officials to remove female-centered language from women’s health care in the name of trans inclusivity. Last year, the CDC came under fire from Republican senators for promoting drug-induced "chestfeeding" of infants by men identifying as transgender, regardless of the health effects on the baby. Academic journals and media outlets have for years referred to women as "pregnant and lactating persons."

The bill, whose coauthors include members of the California Legislative Black Caucus, has a good chance of passing in the state’s Democratic supermajority legislature—particularly since it’s an expansion of existing law aimed at lowering black maternal mortality. As such, critics see it as false advertising.

"[This proposal], while purporting to promote the welfare of all pregnant women, especially black pregnant women, is actually Trojan Horse legislation intended to further divisive identitarian politics and prioritize gender identity over biological sex," said Cynthia Cravens, a San Francisco Democrat running for state senate in part to combat her party’s gender ideology push. She added that it could "wreak havoc on an already endangered maternal care system in California."

Other critics say the bill is a blow to women that undercuts their sex-based protections.

Kara Dansky, president of the Women’s Declaration International USA, a group that defends sex-based rights for women, called the measure "draconian," and one that "by requiring health practitioners to participate in training initiatives that deny the material reality of sex, arguably violates important free speech principles."

The bill’s lead author is Assemblywoman Lori Wilson (D.), whose office did not respond to a request for comment. Last year, Wilson authored a proposal to order custody judges in divorce disputes to favor parents who support their child’s transition to a different gender. The legislation passed amid intense grassroots opposition from Californians but was vetoed by the governor.