CNN was ridiculed online for using the term “individuals with a cervix” when reporting new healthcare recommendations released by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

The story on Thursday was about how often people should undergo screening for cervical cancers and test for primary human papillomavirus (HPV) has drawn attention for all the wrong reasons. Many readers were baffled to see the piece of advice directed at “individuals with a cervix” and assumed that CNN was peddling a transgender agenda. Disparaging and angry comments flooded its Twitter account.

“Individuals with a cervix???” What a moronic PC statement. The word is WOMEN.

“Individuals with a cervix”Apparently “woman” is a dogwhistle now…

Those emotions may be somewhat misplaced since CNN didn’t invent the awkwardly-sounding expression. Apparently cancer and HPV don’t care if a person identifies themselves as a woman or someone else, only that they have a cervix to affect. So the ACS did address its guidelines to “individuals with a cervix”. The same words pop up in some other medical articles published in previous years, and not only in the US.

But unlike CNN, the American Cancer Society doesn’t avoid using the words “woman” and “female”, which are absent from the news story altogether.

Appearing to be disrespectful to transgender people may draw an avalanche of online harassment today, as can be attested to by ‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling. She put herself in the crosshairs by lashing out at a healthcare story that used the words “people who menstruate” in its headline.

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