Aborting search terms

Hopkins restores access to health site

Johns Hopkins officials restored full access yesterday to a reproductive health Web site funded by the US government, after learning that searches containing the word "abortion" were being intentionally restricted and that thousands of studies were being hidden from easy view. The change came after librarians and women's health advocates flooded the blogosphere - and e-mail boxes at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health - with complaints of censorship.
They became concerned after one research librarian was told the action was not a mistake - with the implication that it could be related to Bush administration rules restricting dissemination of information about abortions in foreign countries.

Dr. Michael J. Klag, Bloomberg's dean, said he learned about the action yesterday morning and ordered administrators of POPLINE to restore "abortion" as a search term "immediately." He also said he would launch an inquiry into why the decision was made to limit searches. "I could not disagree more strongly with this decision," Klag said in a statement. "The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and not its restriction."