(The Center Square) – Measures removing gender-specific language from various Illinois laws have cleared the General Assembly. One changes “mother” to “person who gave birth.” Another removes gender-specific language from who can be insured for certain cancer screenings.
House Bill 2350 removes gender language for who can get Pap smears or prostate exams covered by their insurance. A Pap smear tests for cervical cancer in women. A prostate exam tests for colon cancer in men.
State Sen. Christine Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, explained the measure during Senate debate on Thursday.
“This updates some language so that we can be more gender inclusive and make sure that people have access to the necessary screenings to avoid any type of harmful impact when we do have issues, and they are not found until much later,” Pacione-Zayas said.
State Sen. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said the measure is impossible to implement and runs the risk of confusing children.
“Folks, if you want to know why kids are confused and why people do crazy stuff, this is exactly why,” Chesney said. “Biological males cannot get Pap smears. It’s not possible. It is physically and anatomy impossible. It is not even following science.”
Chesney went on to say “there are only two genders.”
“Biological women cannot go get a prostate exam. It is not possible,” Chesney said. “We can do all the gender feel-good garbage, but this is why your kids are confused. This is why your kids are dressing up as furries and kitty litter is in their bathrooms.”
Pacione-Zayas said a review of state statute showed the bill was necessary.
“All of the elements of the study that kind of uncovered where we needed to update some language so we can be more gender inclusive and make sure that people have access to the necessary screens and avoid any type of harmful impact,” Pacione-Zayas said.
The bill passed both chambers and now awaits to be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Chesney was also critical of House Bill 1596 passing. Among other things, the measure replaces in state statute the word “biological” with “birth,” replaces the word “mother” with “person who gave birth,” and replaces references to “boys and girls” with “children.”
“We have serious issues to discuss, but instead we’re debating bills that advance the extreme left’s social agenda,” Chesney said. “Replacing the word ‘mother’ with the term ‘person who gave birth’ is an insult to those who carried, nurtured, and went through the birthing process. Those people are called ‘mothers.’”
The ACLU of Illinois praised the passage of HB1596.
“A few years ago, the Illinois Auditor General reported that [the Department of Children and Family Services] was failing to meet the needs of the growing number of LGBTQ+ youth under their care,” said Nora-Collins Mandeville of the ACLU of Illinois. “Recognizing and affirming those youth by using appropriate and inclusive language is a critical first step to providing care to those for whom DCFS is responsible. Adopting gender inclusive language promotes equity and respect for all people – a laudable goal for our State.”
Greg Bishop contributed to this report.