Science Groups Attack Reported Word Ban at CDC

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asserted on Sunday that he had never heard of a bombshell Washington Post report revealing that the Trump administration banned the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from using words like "fetus" and "science-based".

A CDC spokeswoman said she was not aware of any guidance that prohibits CDC scientists from using "health equity" or any other words or phrases in presentations or talks. "HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions", the statement continued.

According to an unnamed source, policy analysts at the CDC were notified of the banned words during a 90-minute meeting on Thursday, The Washington Post reported. The forbidden words are "vulnerable", "entitlement", "diversity", "transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based" and "science-based". The news set off an uproar among advocacy groups and some political officials, who denounced any efforts to muzzle federal agencies or censor their language.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, said the reported decree on banned words was a misrepresentation. FDA was quick to note that it had gotten no such instruction. In some cases, the agency was not provided with alternative wording.

The Trump administration, however, says the report of a word ban is a misrepresentation of discussions.

In a series of six tweets, she repeatedly addressed the agency's commitment to public health.

When the analysts learned of the ban, their reaction was "incredulous", the longtime CDC analyst said. The other words were mentioned verbally, the analyst said. "They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop".

Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, referred to the alleged "ban" as "reckless" and "unimaginably risky".

"You can not fight against the Zika virus, or improve women's and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word 'fetus.' You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola", Singiser said.

And the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention refers on its website to the importance of its mission of "addressing the health needs of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender".

Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, issued a statement saying: "Here's a word that's still allowed: 'ridiculous"'. "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 Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

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