“We cannot replace truth with bias,” a bioethicist says.
In an astonishing order, the Trump administration has banned the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words — including “fetus,” “transgender,” “diversity” and “science-based” — in any documents used to prepare the agency’s budget, The Washington Post has reported.
CDC policy analysts were reportedly informed of the forbidden words in a 90-minute meeting in Atlanta on Thursday with senior CDC officials. The other banned words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement” and “evidence-based,” according to the Post, citing an unnamed policy analyst. The meeting was led by a senior member of the CDC’s Office of Financial Services. She didn’t know why the words were forbidden and said she was merely relaying information, the Post reported.
Instead of the words “science-based” or “evidence-based,” analysts were told they could use instead: The “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the newspaper reported.
The Post’s source could not recall a previous time in any other administration when words were forbidden.
Dr. Loren Schechter, director of the Center for Gender Confirmation surgery at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago and a member of the board of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, said he was shocked by the edict.
“I’m not sure what the ultimate rationale is for doing this aside from trying to erase certain types of people off the map,” he told HuffPost, referring to the ban on the words “transgender” and “diversity.”
“I think walking back hard-earned civil rights is something that is, number one, quite shocking to me and, number two, quite concerning. Simply choosing to ignore reality, science, medicine, will not make these things go away and will not really advance anyone’s cause or lead to improved health outcomes.”
“This is quite an absurdity,” Schechter said. “The president sets the agenda. It’s quite scary … it really sends a chill down your spine. I can’t imagine how you don’t allow terms to be used. It’s sort of like the thought police here.