Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now banned from using seven words in official documents: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
According to the Washington Post, these Orwellian restrictions were introduced Thursday during a 90-minute briefing at the CDC in Atlanta. Officials appointed by Trump informed policy analysts that none of the aforementioned words could be used in documents being prepared for next year's budget. Why? Well, no one really knows at this point. But anyone who is familiar with American politics knows that each of these words have proven to be inconvenient for Republicans, especially in recent years.
Though analysts weren’t given an explanation for the bizarre and concerning ban, they were provided some acceptable alternatives. For instance, instead of saying “evidence-based” or “science-based,” an analysis could say, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” a source told the Post.
Of course, the decision has garnered criticism from lawmakers, members of the scientific community, and private citizens.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, expressed his concern to Stat News.
“There’s as much of a risk of self-censorship that comes out of this than actual direct censorship,” he explained. “So of course the administration and its defenders are going to argue that this is only about what goes into the budget. we know that the signal to the agency is much stronger than that. And it’s going to change behavior of people who work there. And that’s much more damaging than any direct censorship.”