The Trump administration says the report by some media that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has “banned words” such as “fetus” and “transgender” in budgetary documents is a “complete mischaracterization” of discussions regarding the process of preparing budgets.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump administration “is prohibiting” officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using seven words in budgetary documents. The report was apparently based on information from a single CDC “policy analyst” who attended a 90-minute briefing:
According to the Post:
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden terms 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 terms 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 Trump administration, however, says the report of a word ban is a misrepresentation of discussions.
“The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said in a statement to Breitbart News. “HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”
CNN reported the Post’s story as well.
“To pretend and insist that transgender people do not exist, and to allow this lie to infect public health research and prevention is irrational and very dangerous,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, according to CNN.
“The Trump administration is full of dangerous science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC,” she continued. “They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop.”
Health care needs to be based on science and evidence – period.
This administration’s reckless move will put lives at risk. https://t.co/s2wkptUHsI
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) December 16, 2017
Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, referred to the alleged “ban” as “reckless” and “unimaginably dangerous.” She added:
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. 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.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took to Twitter to announce “DANGER!” regarding the alleged word “ban,” accusing the Trump administration of “thought control”:
DANGER! Trump Admin is going further down a dangerous and un-American path of word and thought control. @POTUS has no respect for and has banned words including:
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 16, 2017
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) described the alleged word “ban” on Twitter as “deeply disturbing and offensive”:
— Rep. Gwen Moore (@RepGwenMoore) December 16, 2017