Controversy arose this week when librarians discovered that they could no longer use the word ‘abortion’ on POPLINE, a reproductive health database maintained by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
When informed about the restriction, Dr. Michael J. Klag, the Dean of the Bloomberg School, reversed the decision and restored full access to the POPLINE database.
Loriene Roy, President of the American Library Association, issued the following statement on the controversy:
“We applaud Dr. Klag’s swift action to restore full access to the POPLINE database. We are dismayed, however, at the circumstances that caused the administrators running the POPLINE database to begin blocking any and all searches on the word “abortion.” Any federal policy or rule that requires or encourages information providers to block access to scientific information because of partisan or religious bias is censorship. Such policies promote ideology over science and only serve to deny researchers, students, and individuals on both sides of the issue access to accurate scientific information.”