Senators Demand Answers on "Banned Words" at CDC

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Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and another, as yet unnamed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency, have been informed to stop using certain terms in documents to be used in next year's budget, according to a report from The Washington Post.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refutes these reports, new ones have come up saying that the ban extends beyond the agency.

"CDC has a long-standing history of making public health and budget decisions that are based on the best available science and data that benefits all Americans - and we will continue to do so", Fitzgerald said, adding that the words guidance was referring to how the budget was to be presented - not as "overall guidance".

"There are no banned, prohibited or forbidden words at the CDC - period", she said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News on Monday.

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. In other words, what happened regarding these other terms ("transgender", "fetus", "evidence-based", and "science-based") was not that retrograde Republicans ordered career CDC officials not to use these terms but that career CDC officials assumed retrograde Republicans would be triggered by such words and, in an effort to avoid having such Republicans cut their budgets, reasoned they might be best avoided.

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The Health and Human Services Department has pushed back on the first report. "It's about a budget strategy to get funded", said a former federal official to the New York Times.

And the Trump administration has been systematically eliminating LGBT people from federal concerns.

Indeed, an Obama rule set to go into effect on January 1, 2017, stating that doctors could not deny patients care on the basis of their gender identity, was blocked by a Texas judge the day before it was to become law, in response to legal actions taken by the Catholic Benefits Association and quite a few other faith-based health care organizations. At HHS alone, the administration has removed, from at least two federal health surveys, questions that would identify data specific to LGBT people.

Politico said HHS officials said they are not required to release all the comments because the comments were responding to a "request for information" and not a proposed rule change.

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