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CDC gets list of banned words, including 'fetus' and 'diversity'
Capital - 12/17/2017
WASHINGTON - Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation's top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year's budget.
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are: "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based."
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of "science-based" or "evidence-based," the suggested phrase is "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes," the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights - all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration - has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Donald Trump took office. Several key departments - including Health and Human Services, which oversees CDC, as well as Justice, Education and Housing and Urban Development - have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
In March, for example, HHS dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people.
HHS has also removed information about LGBT Americans from its website. The department's Administration for Children and Families, for example, archived a page that outlined federal services that are available for LGBT people and their families, including how they can adopt, and receive help if they are the victims of sex trafficking.
At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in CDC's Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.
The reaction of people in the meeting was "incredulous," the analyst said. "It was very much, 'Are you serious? Are you kidding?' "
"In my experience, we've never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint," the analyst said.
Credit: By Lena H. Sun ; Juliet Eilperin - The Washington Post