No words have been banned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's lexicon, according to the federal agency's director.
In a statement sent to NBC News on Monday, CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald pushed back against reports that the agency had prohibited use of the words "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based."
"The CDC remains committed to our public health mission as a science- and evidence-based institution, providing for the common defense of the country against health threats. Science is and will remain the foundation of our work," Fitzgerald said. "As I have said previously, there are no banned, prohibited or forbidden words at the CDC — period."
Threats the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have responded to
Threats the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have responded to
Barbara Smith, a registered nurse with Mount Sinai Medical Health Systems, St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York, demonstrates putting on personal protective equipment (PPE) during an Ebola educational session for healthcare workers at the Jacob Javits Convention center in New York, October 21, 2014. Thousands of healthcare workers representing dozens of clinical and non-clinical positions attended the session that featured experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other area infection control experts to provide training and information on caring for potential Ebola patients. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH DISASTER)
A Chipotle restaurant is shown in Federal Way, Washington November 20, 2015. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that three additional states reported E. coli infections from the same strain as the Chipotle Mexican Grill outbreak, sending shares in the chain down more than 12 percent. REUTERS/David Ryder
A deer mouse in a sawdust, pine needle, and bird feather habitat is seen in this handout photo obtained by Reuters, July 6, 2017. The deer mice are the principal reservoir of Sin Nombre (SN) virus, the primary etiologic agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in North America, a relatively-new acute respiratory illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
The cruise ship Balmoral is prepared prior to boarding of passengers going on the Titanic Memorial Cruise in Southampton, England April 8, 2012. An outbreak of the norovirus stomach bug has sickened 160 people aboard a Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship docked at Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. health officials and the company said on Friday. The norovirus outbreak took place aboard the Britain-based line's Balmoral during a transatlantic cruise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo
A scientist holds a container filled with blood to feed aedes aegypti mosquitoes at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, March 6, 2016. Picture taken March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A deer tick, or blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, is seen on a blade of grass, in this undated picture from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists have discovered a new bacteria species causing Lyme disease in the U.S. Midwest, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday, adding to the medical literature on the tick-borne disease. REUTERS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
NEW YORK - 1958: In this handout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the skin of a patient after three days of measles infection is seen at a New York hospital in 1958. Measles outbreaks have been reported throughout the U.S., with the latest reported February 5, 2015 at a daycare in suburban Chicago where as many as five children under the age of one have been infected. (Photo by CDC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Bio Recovery Corporation employees hand over potentially contaminated materials to the CDC outside of 546 West 147th Street October 24, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea, where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing where he was officially diagnosed with the Ebola virus on October 23rd. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: A Florida Department of Health worker packages up a urine sample to be tested for the Zika virus as they provide people with a free Zika virus test at a temporary clinic setup at the Miami Beach Police Department on September 13, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. According to the CDC, 64 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been discovered in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientist measures the amount of H7N9 avian flu virus which was grown and harvested in an unnamed CDC laboratory in 2013. James Gathany/CDC/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Colonies of E. coli bacteria grown on a Hektoen enteric (HE) agar plate are seen in a microscopic image courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). U.S. health officials on May 26, 2016 reported the first case in the country of a patient with E. coli bacteria carrying the mcr-1 gene, an infection resistant to all known antibiotics. CDC/Handout via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
The Aeromedical Biological Containment System (ABCS) is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, August 1, 2014. The ABCS is a portable, tent-like device installed in a modified Gulfstream III (G-III) aircraft, providing a means to perform emergency movement of exposed or contagious CDC personnel from the field, or site of exposure, to a facility that can provide appropriate medical care without risk to passengers or air crew, according to the CDC. The ABCS was designed and built by the Department of Defense (DoD), Phoenix Air Group (PAG), and CDC. REUTERS/CDC/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH DISASTER SOCIETY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
The initial report was published in the Washington Post and cited an anonymous policy analyst who said the ban was discussed during a budget-related meeting.
The budget materials, including supporting documents, are provided to partners of the CDC and Congress. The Office of Management and Budget receives proposals from federal agencies for the president's 2019 budget and has a final say on what is included.
"CDC has a long-standing history of making public health and budget decisions that are based on the best available science and data that benefits all Americans — and we will continue to do so," Fitzgerald said, adding that the words guidance was referring to how the budget was to be presented — not as "overall guidance."
I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.
"I understand that confusion arose from a staff-level discussion at a routine meeting about how to present CDC's budget. It was never intended as overall guidance for how we describe and conduct CDC's work," Fitzgerald said.
The FDA, an agency that like the CDC is under the Department of Health and Human Services' umbrella, said on Saturday that it had not received any guidance on banned words. "We haven't received, nor implemented, any directives with respect to the language used at FDA to describe our policy or budget issues," an FDA spokeswoman told NBC News in an email.
"HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans," said spokesman Matt Lloyd. "HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions."