The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden terms at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
At the CDC, several offices have responsibility for work that uses some of these terms. The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is working on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people and reduce health disparities. The CDC’s work on birth defects caused by the Zika virus includes research on the developing fetus.
Let me guess: for “fetus” they will now have to swap in “preshuss little baybeez.”
Meanwhile, over here in reality, these are words that signify things that actually exist in the world. Important things.
I suppose it doesn’t really matter whether it’s banal right-wing authoritarianism or run-of-the-mill magical thinking that makes those behind such measures believe that by censoring certain words from public discourse, the concepts they represent will cease to have as much importance to the citizenry. Because either way, they are probably right.
Have a nice day.