We at the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) are deeply concerned about recent news reports that the staff of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been instructed not to use seven specific words in the context of the 2019 budget proposal process. The words are ?vulnerable,? ?entitlement,? ?diversity,? ?transgender,? ?fetus,? ?evidence-based? and ?science-based.? They encompass terms that represent critical areas of emphasis for the CDC?s work of safeguarding the nation?s health. Some of the words are signifiers of populations of people, including the transgender community and diverse individuals of every kind, whom midwives serve and who are midwives themselves.
ACNM rejects any attempt to diminish and derail the mission and pledge of the CDC and its position as the foremost authority in the United States in the area of health protection. ACNM as a professional health organization is dedicated to the advancement of midwives who provide essential health care services, including maternity, reproductive, and sexual health care services. We are committed to promoting science-informed, evidence-based practices, and we do this in part using guidance from the CDC. (See examples here and here.) The CDC?s recommendations must meet the criteria of delivering the most rigorous, unbiased best practices that science can inform to assure the best possible health outcomes for all. Politicization of this process is unacceptable, as is the marginalization of research to address diverse, vulnerable, or transgender populations.
Midwives are dedicated to providing optimal care to all who seek their services. We call on policy makers and our elected officials to maintain the scientific integrity of our federal agencies and to ensure that the research and public health missions of the CDC remain free from the corrosive influence of politicalization.
Lisa Kane Low, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
President, American College of Nurse-Midwives