Trump bans public health agency from using words ‘science-based,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender’

In this Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. .
In this Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. . AP Photo/David Goldman, File

The Trump administration has identified seven words that can no longer be used in official budget documents for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Washington Post reports.

The forbidden words will include, “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” The Post reports that policy analysts for the CDC were told of the list in a meeting with senior officials on Thursday.

CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald recently tweeted out a response to these reports, saying that “CDC has a long-standing history of making public health and budget decisions that are based on the best available science and data and for the benefit of all people—and we will continue to do so.”

The CDC was given suggestions for words to use in lieu of those listed. For example, instead of “science-based,” CDC staff could instead use “the CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”
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The revelation caused backlash on social media, with many taking to Twitter to express their frustrations with the ban.

Planned Parenthood vice president Dana Singiser called the move “unimaginably dangerous” and “reckless,” in a statement to the Hill. 

“It is unimaginably dangerous to forbid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from speaking about things essential to Americans’ health,” she said. “This edict doesn’t just mean a change in vocabulary. It means the Trump-Pence administration is trying to make a radical change in the focus of the entire agency.”

“You cannot fight against the Zika virus, or improve women’s and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word ‘fetus.’ You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola,” Singiser said. “You must be able to acknowledge the humanity of transgender people in order to address their health care needs. You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words ‘vulnerable’ or ‘diversity,'” continued Singiser.

READ MORE: Donald Trump has yet to appoint a single member to Obama-era science, tech council

The CDC currently has a budget of about US$7 billion (about CDN$9 billion) and over 12,000 employees working across the U.S. The work of the agency reaches across a number of issues, including prevention of infectious diseases and food and water safety.

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The CDC isn’t the only agency that’s seen changes over the past few months. In March, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people and has since removed information about LGBTQ Americans from its website.

Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has gradually erased mentions of climate change from government websites.

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