Multiple agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have reportedly been told by the Trump administration that they cannot use certain phrases in official documents.
Officials from two HHS agencies, who asked that their names and agencies remain anonymous, told The Washington Post that they had been given a list of “forbidden” words similar to the one given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A second HHS agency was told not to use the phrases “entitlement,” “diversity” and “vulnerable,” in documents. It was also told to use “ObamaCare” as opposed to the “Affordable Care Act” and to refer to “marketplaces,” where people purchase health insurance, as “exchanges.”
The Post’s new report builds on its Friday report that the CDC had been told it could no longer use the phrases “evidence-based” and “science-based” in documents being prepared for the 2019 budget.
The list of “forbidden” words and phrases given to policy analysts at the CDC also included “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender” and “fetus.”
The Health and Human Services Department has pushed back on the first report.
“The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd told The Hill on Saturday.
“HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions,” the statement continued.
According to the Post, similar guidance on word choice has been issued at the State Department. Employees at the State Department have been told to call sex education “sexual risk avoidance,” which primarily refers to abstinence-only education.
The Trump administration has been repeatedly scrutinized for declining to acknowledge scientific findings, particularly related to climate change. Trump has also repeatedly expressed doubts about the scientific consensus that humans are the main cause of a warming planet. Numerous members of his administration and his appointees have also denied aspects of the scientific consensus related to global warming.