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No, the CDC did not ban a list of words

21 December 2017

In a statement responding to the Post story, HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said; "The assertion that HHS has "banned words" is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process. 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".

Planned Parenthood and other progressive-liberal organizations are lashing out at the Trump administration over a claim they are censoring words that can be used by government officials.

On principle, I am very concerned about efforts to restrict the CDC's language in any way as it seeks to communicate with Congress and the public about its priorities for protecting and ensuring public health.

Lloyd said the document originated within HHS.

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today expressed concerns to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about reports that OMB told officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they should avoid using certain words and phrases in preparing Fiscal Year 2019 budget documents.

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The meeting was led by a career civil servant who did not explain why the words were being banned, the anonymous source told the Post. "This budget guidance is not official administration policy and did not come from OMB". She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she was not authorized to talk about what happened.

The forbidden word list includes "vulnerable", "entitlement", "diversity", "transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based" and "science-based". 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.

Another source inside the CDC claimed that although a meeting took place, no words were "forbidden". They're saying not to use it in your request for money because it will hurt you. "These were words that were brought up by people in the meeting due to their prior experience in formulating the CDC budget". She reiterated the HHS statement, which also said the department also strongly encourages the used of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.

"CDC has a long-standing history of making public health and budget decisions that are based on the best available science and data that benefits all Americans - and we will continue to do so", Fitzgerald said, adding that the words guidance was referring to how the budget was to be presented - not as "overall guidance".

The budget analyst present at the meeting does not recall the conversation unfolding in that way. "Given that the Trump administration has already shown a propensity to defund, silence, and eliminate agencies and programs that serve medically vulnerable communities and promote research rooted in science, we are particularly alarmed by even the possibility that the administration would direct a federal scientific agency to avoid the use of medically accurate language".

No, the CDC did not ban a list of words