Johns Hopkins University Criticized for Blocking Abortion Search in Health Database

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 4, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Johns Hopkins University Criticized for Blocking Abortion Search in Health Database Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 4
, 2008

Baltimore, MD ( — Johns Hopkins University runs one of the largest Internet databases on health issues, including reproductive health topics. The prestigious college is coming under fire, especially from abortion advocates, for blocking any searches using the term abortion by itself or in a combination with other words.

The JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health has been blocking the searches because it worries it will lose federal funding by providing the information.

"We recently made all abortion terms stop words. As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now," Debbie Dickson of the Popline database told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The database is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which is the federal office in charge of providing foreign aid and it is bound by the rules of the Mexico City Policy, which prevent the funding of abortions overseas or groups that promote or do them.

She suggested those looking for abortion topics put in keywords such as "unwanted pregnancy," "fertility control" and "postconception."

The problems first surfaced when a librarian at the University of California at San Francisco ran a routine search and found no results on abortion.

The pro-abortion web site Feministing bashed Johns Hopkins in an editorial, saying, "How about giving women accurate information? How about acknowledging the existence of medical fact, of a legal and safe medical procedure? Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away, people."