U.S. Funded Health Search Engine Blocks ‘Abortion’



Wired reports that a health services search engine funded by the US Government blocks searches for the word “abortion” because of the possibilty that funding could be denied for project that “actively promote abortion”:

Called Popline, the search site is run by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland. It’s funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID…

“We recently made all abortion terms stop words,” Dickson [the manager of the database at John Hopkins] wrote in a note to Gloria Won, the UCSF medical center librarian making the inquiry. “As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now.”

It turns out that the block was prompted by complaints from the Bush administration:

“The items in question had to do with abortion advocacy — the two items dealing with abortion were removed following this inquiry, and the administrators made a decision to restrict abortion as a search term,” said Tim Parsons, a spokesman for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.

Searches for “abortion” have been restored. However, it does not appear that the two removed articles were restored.

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