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  • 24.10.2018

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Ban on words 'foetus' and 'transgender?'
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24.10.2018

Ban on words 'foetus' and 'transgender?'

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US health leaders say they are alarmed about reports that officials at the nation's top public health agency are being told not to use certain words in official budget documents, including "foetus," "transgender" and "science-based".

The health community was reacting to a story in The Washington Post , which said the prohibition arose at a meeting of senior budget officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An anonymous source told the newspaper the seven words and phrases were not to be used in documents being prepared for the next presidential budget proposal.
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The seven words and phrases were: "diversity," "entitlement," "foetus," transgender," "vulnerable," "evidence-based" and "science-based".

On Saturday, a CDC official confirmed there was a recent meeting in which CDC officials were given feedback from the higher ranks of the federal government to reconsider language in draft budget documents. But she said she did not know if there was any specific prohibition about using those seven words.

A spokesman at the US Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CDC, said in a statement that it's a mischaracterisation to say the CDC was banned from using certain words. But HHS officials did not clarify or answer any other questions.
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The Atlanta-based CDC is in charge of responding to infectious disease outbreaks, like Ebola and Zika, and tracking a wide range of chronic diseases and other health problems.

For decades, the agency has had a mostly sterling reputation as a source of scientific information. So the idea that the agency is censoring certain language sparked alarm and anger from some science and public health experts.

"Here's a word that's still allowed: 'ridiculous,"' said Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in a statement reacting to the report.
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Since President Donald Trump took office, a number of federal agencies have moved to downscale data collection on topics like climate change and homeless people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and to remove from some government websites information on such topics.
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