Monday, April 21, 2008

Dingell Examining Closure of Hopkins Health Database

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating why a government-funded, reproductive health database operated by the Johns Hopkins University briefly blocked searches using the term abortion two weeks ago.

The POPLINE database is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and run by Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Bloomberg's dean ordered all searches restored after he learned that an administrator had made it difficult to find abortion-related scientific material on the POPLINE Web site. The restriction lasted several days.

"I am concerned that the restriction of certain search terms in the POPLINE database is an ideological decision and not in line with the spirit of free scientific inquiry intended by the creation of such a database," Rep. John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, wrote in a letter yesterday to USAID's administrator.

The congressman requested the names of the officials who were involved in the decision to make abortion a "stop word" - one that a search engine will ignore.

More here.

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