CDC Must Not Cave to GOP’s Hostility to Science and LGBTQ Americans, Says Center for Inquiry

For Immediate Release: December 18, 2017
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must not sacrifice scientific accuracy, nor the rights and dignity of transgender Americans in order to appease ideologues in Congress, said the Center for Inquiry (CFI). As it proposes its 2019 budget request, CFI urges the agency to stand firm for science, evidence, and concern for the health of all Americans.

It was recently reported by the Washington Post that senior officials at the CDC had banned the agency’s policy experts from using seven words in their 2019 budget request: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” ater reports have suggested that policy experts had merely been advised to avoid certain terms so as not to earn the wrath of hyper-conservative congressional Republicans.

“The mission of the CDC is to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, and science and evidence are the tools that CDC professionals use to learn what those threats are and how we can defeat them,” said Jason Lemieux, director of government affairs for CFI. “It is unacceptable that CDC officials would feel compelled by partisan interests to expunge all mentions of science and evidence.”

“Furthermore, the CDC is apparently intimidated to the point that they fear a political backlash unless they omit the word “transgender,” which identifies an estimated 1.4 million Americans with unique health concerns.”

The Post has also reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the CDC, has removed information from its website about the federal services available to LGBTQ Americans and their families.

“The ideology that rejects transgender identity is contrary to the CDC’s mission of protecting Americans’ health,” said Lemieux. “Transgender Americans are Americans, and they are entitled (yes, entitled) to the same degree of concern and attention from their government as any other American. Professional treatment has been proven to improve their lives. Science can uncover the treatments that work best.

“Refusing to acknowledge the word ‘fetus’ doesn’t change an American woman’s fundamental constitutional right to seek an abortion,” noted Nick Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “That the CDC using the correct scientific term could prevent important research receiving funding, however, shows the extent to which the anti-choice movement and its allies in Congress are willing to go to seek to roll back that right.”

The Center for Inquiry called upon the CDC to reject this aggressive strain of ignorance and hostility which seeks to make “science” a dirty word. The CDC cannot stay above the fray of politics by choosing to serve some Americans at the expense of others. CFI stands with the scientific and public health communities in embracing science, evidence, and concern for the health of all Americans.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at