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Are These Words Forbidden at the CDC?

Jan 02, 2018

Dr. Fitzgerald also added the full statement from the Department of Health and Human Services:

Below is the full HHS statement addressing the media reports.

The assertion that HHS has 'banned words' is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process. 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.

According to the fact-checking website, Dr. Fitzgerald explained that confusion at a CDC staff meeting sparked the controversy.

“It was never intended as overall guidance for how we describe and conduct CDC’s work,” she wrote in an email to Snopes.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Brown, Haywood L., MD

“ACOG Opposes Any Effort to Ban Scientifically and Medically Accurate Terminology”

(December 18, 2017)


Caplan, Arthur L., PhD

“Censoring the CDC Is Scary and Crazy, Says Ethicist”

(December 18, 2017)

Terry, Ken

“HHS Says It Gave No 'Directive' to Ban Seven Words at CDC”

(December 18, 2017)

PBS News Hour

Regan, Michael D.

“CDC director says there are ‘no banned words’ at the agency”

(December 17, 2017)

Kasprak, Alex

“Trump Administration Bans CDC Officials From Using Certain Words?”

(Updated: December 18, 2017)

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