The Public Pulse: A frightening ban on words

The Trump administration reportedly told agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year's budget A spokesperson from the HHS disputes this

The forbidden terms are "vulnerable", "entitlement", "diversity", "transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based" and "science-based".

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control, the country's top public health agency, were banned from using seven words or phrases-including "fetus" and "transgender"-in any official documents being prepared for the 2018 budget, according to The Washington Post".

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, said in a phone interview Monday that while he was "alarmed" by reports about the budget guidance, he speculated that "what we're looking at is more silly than sinister". "Furthermore, the American public deserves to know the degree to which the Trump-Pence Administration has interfered with the life-saving work of the CDC".

Science tallied the usage of these words in CDC's budget requests to Congress-formally known as Justification of Estimates for Appropriation Committees-for the past 4 years, including the last three submitted by Obama. 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.

"If you are saying you can not use words like "transgender" and 'diversity, ' it's a clear statement that you can not pay attention to these issues".

The Public Pulse: A frightening ban on words

In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Management and Budget, the senators ask about the development and dissemination of any discouraged words, the legality and enforcement of such a policy, and the policies in place to ensure the scientific integrity of the health agencies. "HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions", the statement continued. Politico said HHS officials said they are not required to release all the comments because the comments were responding to a "request for information" and not a proposed rule change. "I have a deep sympathy for the predicament that they are in", Dr. Galea said.

Our nation's public research universities are committed to continuing their strong partnership with the federal government, including the CDC, in both conducting the research to better understand diseases and other public health concerns as well as delivering treatments and developing methods for limiting outbreaks and systemic health crises.

A report in the NYT suggests the budget discussion, from which the WaPo report came, suggesting side-stepping certain words in order to secure budget funding from Congressional Republicans.

There's no written directive about not using the term; it's only been communicated verbally, said the medical leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize a working relationship with CDC officials. She told the group there were other words too, but officials are avoiding writing them down, the analyst recalled her telling the group.

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