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Tipsheet

Did You Notice What Was Off About The Today Show's Headline for Its Segment on a New Blood Test?

Let’s get the good news out of the way: a new FDA-approved blood test can detect a pregnant woman’s risk of developing preeclampsia, the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. The medical condition, which can be fatal to the mother and the child, is marked by high blood pressure and high levels of protein detected in the urine, indicating kidney damage. The condition usually presents itself after 20 weeks of pregnancy (via Business Insider): 

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved a blood test that predicts a pregnant person's risk of developing a severe blood-pressure disease. 

The condition, called preeclampsia, occurs when a person develops high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It's a leading cause of maternal death and disability worldwide. The rate of preeclampsia in the US has jumped 25% in the past two decades, according to the nonprofit Preeclampsia Foundation. 

About one in 25 pregnancies in the US is affected by preeclampsia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease can damage organs including the kidneys, liver, and brain, and might increase the pregnant person's risk of preterm birth and pregnancy loss. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific developed the blood test, which is already available in Europe. The FDA granted the test approval in May. 

The test is designed to be given to pregnant people who have been hospitalized for blood pressure disorders. Per Thermo Fisher Scientific, the test helps determine those patients' risks of developing preeclampsia by measuring the balance of two proteins in the blood. 

It’s great news, but it’s only for women. Not biological males pretending to be women, who most definitely cannot mensurate or get pregnant. Yet, The Today Show decided to use the phrase “pregnant people” in their headline. Other outlets, like The Guardian, opted to use the phrase “pregnant patients,” which is more acceptable. Still, even CBS News and US News and World Report decided to go with actual science by writing in their articles that this test is for pregnant women. 

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And yet, the segment is geared toward how this condition impacted black women disproportionately. There is no such thing as “pregnant people,” just like how there’s no such thing as “chest feeders.” Only women can breastfeed, get pregnant, and give birth. There is no inclusivity here. None. It’s a rather exclusive club. Very informative segment, NBC—but the headline is odd.

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