Tue | Mar 26, 2019

A CDC ban on 'fetus' and 'transgender?' Experts alarmed

Published:Monday | December 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Health leaders say they are alarmed about a report that officials at the top United States public health agency are being told not to use certain words or phrases in official budget documents, including 'fetus', 'transgender' and 'science-based'.

The health community was reacting to a story in The Washington Post published last Friday citing an anonymous source who said the prohibition was made at a recent meeting of senior budget officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The seven words and phrases - 'diversity', 'entitlement', 'fetus', 'transgender', 'vulnerable', 'evidence-based' and 'science-based' - were not to be used in documents that are to be circulated within the federal government and Congress in preparation of the next presidential budget proposal, the paper reported.




Last Saturday, a CDC official confirmed CDC officials were given "feedback" from higher ranks of the federal government at a recent meeting to reconsider certain language in draft budget documents. But she said she did not know if there was any specific prohibition about using those seven words. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she was not authorised to talk about what happened.

A spokesman at the US Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CDC, said in a statement that it's a mischaracterisation to say the CDC was banned from using certain words. But HHS officials did not clarify or answer any other questions.

In an email to the agency's employees on Saturday night, CDC Director Dr Brenda Fitzgerald noted the media report and wrote: "I want to assure you that CDC remains committed to our public health mission as a science- and evidence-based institution. As part of our commitment to provide for the common defense of the country against health threats, science is and will remain the foundation of our work."