The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rightly come under scrutiny for banning a list of seven words for employee use. Banning the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” is a a dangerous attempt at censorship, an insult to scientists, and damaging to the health of the American public, argue Dabney P. Evans and Dr. Kenneth G. Castro in The Hill. Given that the CDC is responsible for America’s population health and bases all public health decisions on scientific data, such a ban will prevent the CDC from researching and recommending vital public health decisions since their work often involves these specific words. This ban attacks federal employees’ First Amendment rights and CDC integrity.
The media buzz surrounding the story that CDC officials have been banned from using seven words in their 2019 budget documents is exaggerated, states Kathleen Parker of the Boston Herald. Though the CDC has since announced that there was no ban of the words, numerous news sources say otherwise but importantly clarify that the ban was merely a suggestion. The reason was reportedly because these specific words were used too often or incorrectly. Another theory, which actually turns the suggested ban into a savvy and necessary political strategy, is that these words were possible trigger words that could upset congressional Republicans and influence them into denying or cutting funding for important research and/or health programs. If that's the case, this "ban" is actually a good development.