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Officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scrambled on Monday to walk back news that the Trump administration had forbidden the agency from using certain terms in its budget documents. Banned terms include “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “fetus,” and “transgender.”

According to The Washington Post: “The forbidden words are ‘vulnerable,’ ‘entitlement,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘evidence-based,’ and ‘science-based.’”

Words matter, especially in the field of public health. To identify and address the shifting health needs of a diverse population, the use of clear language is critical. Censoring common terms makes it harder for public health professionals at the CDC to serve the needs — and protect the lives — of the public.

How should public health workers give sound advice about Zika to expectant mothers without saying the word “fetus”?

How do we continue the nation’s progress toward lower rates of teen pregnancy without basing federal policy on science?

How can America continue to limit the spread of HIV without shaping public health decisions around sound evidence

… or listening to transgender people?

How do we protect vulnerable populations — such as children in Flint, Mich., who face the risk of lifelong health consequences from lead exposure — if federal health officials can no longer even say “vulnerable”?

Americans’ health depends on the ability to get clear, reliable information. The Trump administration should stop playing word games — and we should be as clear as this Twitter user about the damage that censoring officials’ words, when it comes to public health, might do.

Outraged? It's time to take action. 

Here are the top three ways to fight Donald Trump's attempt to muzzle the CDC:

1. Send a message to the Trump Administration

They're launching attack after attack against us — from banning words to going after our birth control access. Tell them we won't stand for it any longer. 

2. Become a Defender

Defenders are a core group of supporters who have said they'll give their time to defend Planned Parenthood, the health services they provide, and the people who rely on them — in what just may be the fight of our lives.

3. Volunteer for Planned Parenthood

Now more than ever, Planned Parenthood is counting on volunteers who are ready to take action locally and online and stand up for reproductive health and rights.

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