The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is reportedly banning a list of seven words or phrases in official documents, sparking a flood of reaction on social media platforms.
Policy analysts at the CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, were told about the list of prohibited words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials, according to an unnamed analyst who attended the meeting as reported by The Washington Post newspaper.
The banned words are "diversity," "entitlement," "evidence-based," "fetus," "science-based," "transgender," and "vulnerable."
The meeting was led by Alison Kelly, a top official in the CDC's Office of Financial Services, according to the analyst who the Post said remained anonymous because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about agency affairs. The analyst said Kelly did not explain why the words were being forbidden.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a non-profit group that provides reproductive health care, said on Twitter the action sends strong messages about the administration of President Donald Trump.
"It’s clearer than ever: this administration has disdained women’s health, LGBTQ people, and science since day one."
It’s clearer than ever: this administration has disdained women’s health, LGBTQ people, and science since day one. https://t.co/KeyP0cy1mv— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) December 16, 2017
David Reiss, an internationally recognized psychiatrist, tweeted that the administration's decision is counterproductive and outside the boundaries of traditional Washington politics.
"This is an attack on reality. Censoring names, Trump attempts to disappear knowledge, people & rational discourse. This is not politics or partisan but a takeover of society by authoritarian kleptocrats. Resist or Collaborate. No other options."
This is an attack on reality. Censoring names, Trump attempts to disappear knowledge, people & rational discourse.THIS IS NOT politics or partisan but a take-over of society by authoritarian kleptocrats.RESIST or Collaborate. No other options.https://t.co/LzEuP2sNCr— David Reiss M.D. (@DMRDynamics) December 16, 2017
Legal Lambda is a legal organization that advocates on behalf of bisexuals, gay men, lesbians, transgender people and people who have contracted HIV. The group responded on Twitter with disbelief.
"Unbelievable. You cannot erase us, @realDonaldTrump..."
Many of the responses on Twitter were triggered by comments from Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, who blasted the Trump administration for reportedly banning the words.
"The @realDonaldTrump Administration is making America stupid again. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned from using "science-based" and "evidence-based" terms. Are we now going to use Voodoo & leeches to treat diseases?..."
The @realDonaldTrump Administration is MAKING AMERICA STUPID AGAIN. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned from using "science-based" and "evidence-based" terms. Are we now going to use Voodoo & leeches to treat diseases? #MASA https://t.co/f77yrSbMFQ— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 16, 2017
Other officials with the nation's top public health agency confirmed the existence of the list of banned words, the Post reported. The newspaper added the words will be prohibited from inclusion in any official CDC documents being prepared for the 2019 budget.
The analyst, described by the Post as a "longtime CDC analyst" who helps write descriptions of the agency's work for the administration's annual budget proposal, could not remember past incidents of words being banned from budget documents because they were deemed controversial.
"In my experience, we've never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint," the analyst told the Post.
Others in the meeting reacted with disbelief, the analyst said.
The Trump administration has grappled with how to address issues such as abortion rights, gender identity and sexual orientation. Several federal agencies have altered some federal policies and how they gather information about bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.
The Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated questions about gender identity and sexual orientation in two surveys of older people. The agency has also deleted information about LGBT people from its website.
On many occasions, the Trump administration has dismissed science-based findings in favor of opinion - particularly regarding climate change. Trump has not said if he believes in climate science and numerous members of his administration have denied facets of scientific findings related to climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency has eliminated references to climate change on its website and has prohibited its scientists from presenting scientific reports on the topic.
The Office of Management and Budget, which produces the president's budget and monitors federal agencies for compliance with the president's policies, has not responded to requests for comment, nor has the CDC, the Post reported.