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

20 December 2017, 01:02 | Sherry Padilla

CDC denies word ban

The Human Rights Campaign an LGBTQ civil rights organization projected seven words that were allegedly banned from some CDC documents onto the facade of the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. on Tuesday

Reports emerged over the weekend that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was instructed to avoid a list of "forbidden words", including "fetus" and "evidence-based", in its official budget documents for 2019.

Second, these three terms to avoid apparently came up in the course of a meeting among career officials at the CDC late last week about preparing next year's congressional-justification documents.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were allegedly barred from using the terms "vulnerable", "entitlement", "diversity", "transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based" and "science-based" on Thursday, Dec. 14, according to the story by the Washington Post.

The CDC and the Office of Management and Budget did not respond to the paper, but the paper cited another unnamed official who confirmed the list's existence.

In lieu of "evidence-based" and "science-based", the CDC budget analysts were directed to use the phrase 'CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.' Alternatives for the other terms were not yet provided.

"The assertion that HHS has "banned words" is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process", HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd told The Hill on Saturday.

The Trump administration has moved to remove regulations on religious groups.

An unnamed Health and Human Services official also told the health news website Stat that it wasn't accurate to say that CDC staff was prohibited from using the seven words.

The opening statement on that website asserts, "The perspectives and needs of LGBT people should be routinely considered in public health efforts to improve the overall health of every person and eliminate health disparities".

"While HHS received 10,729 comments on its proposal", noted Politico, "the agency has only posted 80 comments - less than 1 percent of all submissions - that overwhelmingly back the administration's anti-abortion policies or attack regulations advanced by the Obama administration, such as a rule forcing health care providers that accept federal funding to provide services to transgender patients". While those posted are all in favor of the proposal, Politico reported that the comments criticizing the HHS' abortion and transgender policy have been withheld, adding to a lack of transparency within the Trump administration that could lead to legal challenges.

The way HHS is handling the public comments is bringing about questions of legality.

The Trump administration's budget for the next fiscal year is due to be released in February.

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