Pro-Abortion Rep to Probe Controversial Johns Hopkins Health Database

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 16, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Rep to Probe Controversial Johns Hopkins Health Database Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 16
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A pro-abortion congressman plans to conduct an investigation into a health database run by Johns Hopkins University after it limited searches on the keyword abortion. JHU officials limited the search because the database is federally funded and included articles from an abortion advocacy group.

Abortion advocates tagged JHU for supposedly caving in to a Bush administration policy preventing the funding of international abortion promotion, that appears to not be the entire reason for the decision.

However, JHU officials ordered the stoppage of search results from the abortion keyword after the discovery of pro-abortion articles in the database from Ipas.

Now, Rep. John Dingell, a pro-abortion Michigan Democrat who is the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is planning a probe of the POPLINE database controversy.

"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," Dingell said yesterday.

His comments, according to the Baltimore Sun, came in the form of a letter to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which funds the database and is subject to the Bush limits on abortion funding.

Dingell requested the names of USAID officials involved in the decision to stop the abortion searches, even though JHU officials acted on their own without a mandate or request from USAID to stop the searches.

According to an NPR report, Sandra Jordan of USAID previously indicated that information on abortion statistics and figures is fine, but the federal government can’t fund abortion advocacy groups like Ipas.

"The materials on POPLINE about which USAID made its inquiries were abortion advocacy materials. Afterward, POPLINE administration made the decision to restrict ‘abortion’ as a search term," Jordan says.

Jordan said USAID never asked JHU to stop the search.

He also wanted to know if the USAID funding restrictions limit databases.

The Sun indicated Dingell also sent a letter to Michael Klag, dean of the School of Public Health and the JHU official who eventually restored the abortion search results after several days of limiting them.

Seven articles from Ipas’ magazine appear in the health database and that’s the problem that triggered the initial JHU decision.

By promoting abortion, the articles, and ultimately the database, ran afoul of U.S. laws against federally funding the promotion of abortion overseas.

Ipas has been involved in pro-abortion efforts to get pro-life nations such as Nicaragua to remove laws from the books prohibiting abortions. Ipas has been intimately involved in a legal battle in the Central American nation to defeat a law that bans all abortions.

Carlos Polo of the Population Research Institute writes that Ipas is the main organization behind the infamous hand-held suction abortion machine that has been used in third-world nations to do medically risky abortions on women.