Seven Words and the Enemies of Thought

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The Trump administration has issued a list of seven words the CDC is forbidden to use in budget documents for 2018. Among these is the word “fetus”, now banned from CDC documents used in preparing budgets for scientific work addressing public health threats to pregnant women and their unborn children.

The alternative terminology forced upon the CDC is clearly intended to freight scientific discourse — and the budgetary process supporting scientific research — with the politics of abortion. To what end? What are such cynical language games intended to accomplish? Does the Trump administration seriously believe that coercing the CDC to say “unborn child” instead of “fetus” when talking about how to fund efforts against the Zika virus will take abortion out of play?

No one is going to be fooled or converted by this Orwellian maneuver. If anything, people who see abortion as a legitimate strategy in the battle against Zika will be hardened in their resolve. Hearts and minds are never won by attempts at fascistic control over language and thought. Everyone, including pro-life Christians, should resist.

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