On December 15, the Washington Post reported that the White House sent the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a list of seven words [vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based.] it was forbidden from including in official documents for next year's budget.
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.
One of the CDC analysts who was present at the meeting where the announcement regarding the ban was made, said that it was highly probable that all the health organizations have been handed similar mandates by the Trump administration. But she said she did not know if there was any specific prohibition about using those seven words. She spoke on condition of anonymity, according to the Associated Press.
A spokesman at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CDC, said in a statement that it is a mischaracterization to say the CDC was banned from using certain words. HHS officials gave different accounts of how that took place.
The source in the Washington Post report said budget officials recommended replacing "evidence-based" or "science-based" with the phrase "science in consideration with community norms and standards", which the three groups today called unsafe and misleading. Their work is rooted in evidence-based and science-based approaches that are foundational to society's advancement.
The Atlanta-based CDC is in charge of responding to infectious disease outbreaks, like Ebola and Zika, and tracking a wide range of chronic diseases and other health problems.
CDC's current website includes a "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health" page with photographs of "Gay and Bisexual Men", "Lesbian and Bisexual Women", and "Transgender Persons", suggesting that, if there is an effort underway by the Trump administration to minimize the visibility of LGBT people, it has not yet permeated the agency. Here's a word that's still allowed: "ridiculous". "It was never intended as overall guidance for how we describe and conduct CDC's work", Fitzgerald said.
"You had people at the meeting, saying OK, 'If they want us to avoid 'vulnerable, ' what about 'fetus, ' " the official said".
The budget materials, including supporting documents, are provided to partners of the CDC and Congress.
"In conjunction with the enormous light display, HRC has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for any and all records, including communications with the CDC, relating to the banned words from November 2016 onward". 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.