photo illustration an American Cancer Society logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

Source:   Hank Berrien

The American Cancer Society has issued its latest guidance for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer, and instead of using the term “women” to refer to its intended audience, begins its guidance by referring to “individuals with a cervix.”

Oddly enough, the paragraph begins by referring to “individuals with a cervix,” but later in the paragraph refers to “women,” as follows:

The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with a cervix follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early. Following these guidelines can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from starting. These guidelines do not apply to people who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or cervical pre-cancer. These women should have follow-up testing and cervical cancer screening as recommended by their health care team.

The new guidelines recommend cervical cancer screening to start at age 25, instead of 21 as heretofore, but move HPV testing to start at 25 instead of 30, as The Daily Mail noted.

Last month “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling last month triggered criticism when she mocked the global development website Devex for its report about “people who menstruate,” writing, “People who menstruate.” I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” After blowback ensued, she fired back, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Alexandra DeSanctis explained the various possibilities of the phrase “individuals with a cervix” in National Review:

For those who aren’t up to date on the latest intersectional lingo, “individuals with a cervix” is one of the approved progressive ways to refer to biological women, as it supposedly takes into account transgender and “non-binary” individuals. So, for instance, a biological woman who identifies as a man might still be an “individual with a cervix,” and using this phrase includes such a person, while the word “woman” would not.

Likewise, “individuals with a cervix” might, from the perspective of radical gender theory, be taken to include biological men who identify as women and who, despite not having a cervix, need to be included in the category of what we’d typically consider “women” and yet might be excluded by the use of the word “women.”

She concluded, “We are now being told — by the very same ideologues insisting that conservatives are sexist misogynists who are evil for recognizing the immutable realities of biology — that we can no longer use the word “woman,” because to do so might contradict the notion that biological men can be women, and vice versa. They are, in short, erasing the concept of womanhood for the sake of ratifying the fiction that being a man or a woman means nothing at all.”