The CDC, which is the nation’s top health agency, may need to keep a thesaurus handy when drafting up documents for next year’s budget after the Trump administration has handed down a list of seven forbidden words and phrases. These words are common and used often among health officials at the CDC, leaving those working on the budget for next year hard-pressed to find an alternative to words like “fetus” or “transgender,” which are two of the forbidden words.
These seven banned words are not to show up anywhere in the budget that the CDC is preparing this time of year along with many other government agencies. But unlike the other agencies, the CDC now has seven very commonly used words and phrases that are banned from appearing within that budget. These banned words are especially common in the medical and science fields, which are the fields making up the nation’s leading health agency.
Policy analysts were told of this list of forbidden words and phrases during a meeting in Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was held on Thursday. In some cases, alternatives were offered for these banned words during the 90-minute meeting between CDC policy analysts and senior CDC officials who oversee the budget.
The seven forbidden words are, “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based,” according to the Washington Post. The analysts were given alternative phrases in some cases, but not for others.
Suggestions were offered when attempting to replace “science-based” or ”evidence-based,” which are now both forbidden phrases. Officials suggested using the phrase “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” This was according to a person who attended that meeting but spoke anonymously to the press. There were no replacements offered for the other banned words.
So why was this list of seven forbidden words created? No one was given an explanation as to why this list was concocted or why it is detrimental in keeping these words out of the documents when drafting up the budget.
The news of these banned words made its way to Twitter, where people were offering comments that conveyed their concerns over this. Newsweek writes, “Twitter was awash with comments from people concerned about a ban on the phrases science-based and evidence-based, while others highlighted fears over the words transgender and diversity being banned.”
A board member from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health found it “quite shocking” that they would ban the word “transgender.” Dr. Loren Schechter, who is the director of the Center for Gender Confirmation surgery at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago spoke with the Huffington Post.
“I’m not sure what the ultimate rationale is for doing this aside from trying to erase certain types of people off the map.”
He said it is “quite shocking” to him as well as “quite concerning.” He also said by choosing to ignore these things, it won’t make them go away. Planned Parenthood weighed in as well.
“It’s clearer than ever: this administration has disdained women’s health, LGBTQ people, and science since day one.”