In its signature
dictatorship[REDACTED] authoritarian preference of democratic governing style, the Trump administration has reportedly banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words in their budget documents. The words are: “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” “science-based,” and “vulnerable.” This could cause problems because scientists might need some of those words, like “fetus,” to study fetal brain development to make sure your fetus doesn’t get fucking microcephaly. It’s times like this that I imagine I’ll look back in 10 years (if humans are still alive) and think, “hmm, that was probably the time to move.”
Or was August the time to go, when the Department of Agriculture banned phrases like “climate change” and “reduce greenhouse gasses” and replaced them with “weather extremes” and “increase nutrient use efficiency”?
Or was it June, when the “travel ban” was actually “extreme vetting” until it wasn’t?
Anyway, here we are again. According to the Washington Post, policy analysts at the CDC in Atlanta report that “senior officials” briefed them on Thursday to replace phrases like “science-based” or “evidence-based,” with “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” Which essentially means “science”–the one major thing the CDC needs to make sure we’re not all going to die–is now subject to approval by any ole schmo who has an opinion about it.
As the Post points out, several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, have been quietly dropping mentions of the LGBT community altogether. For example, HHS has “removed information about LGBT Americans from its website.”
One tactic to get around bald censorship has been to out-word the government. An NPR study from earlier this year found that scientists applying for public funding have been cutting down on mentions of “climate change” and referencing “extreme weather” instead.
Fetus fetus fetus fetus fetus fetus fetus!!!!!!!!
Update: Planned Parenthood has returned request for comment with a statement:
It is unimaginably dangerous to forbid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from speaking about things essential to Americans’ health. This edict doesn’t just mean a change in vocabulary. It means the Trump-Pence administration is trying to make a radical change in the focus of the entire agency.
You cannot 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. You must be able to acknowledge the humanity of transgender people in order to address their health care needs. You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words ‘vulnerable’ or ‘diversity’.
This move is reckless, and will put millions of lives in danger. The Trump-Pence administration should be ashamed, and must end this dictate immediately.
Update: David Stacy, Director of Government Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, draws parallels to the Reagan administration’s willful blindness to the AIDS crisis. He adds that the HRC plans to fight the move:
The Trump-Pence administration’s effort to eliminate entire communities from its vocabulary is a dangerous attack on LGBTQ people, women, and fact-based policy making. The move is reminiscent of a time not long ago when the government tried to ignore the reality of the HIV and AIDS crisis to the detriment of millions. This kind of erasure has potentially catastrophic consequences beyond the words used by the CDC — it could impact the very programs most vital to the health of women, transgender people, and others. But we will not be erased. The Human Rights Campaign will fight this and other politically-motivated policies, and this decision will ultimately backfire on the Trump-Pence administration.