December 18, 2017Article

Washington Post: CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity

by Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin

Federal/ 2017/

More than 100 local, state and national leaders and organizations have signed our Invest in What Works Coalition letter calling on the Administration to rescind this guidance that threatens to “undermine the federal government’s focus on science and evidence.” The letter also urges Members of Congress of both parties to reject this effort.

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in 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 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 Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, “will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd told The Washington Post. “HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”