Abortion' back as possible search term in hopkins reproductive health site


Abortion' back as possible search term in hopkins reproductive health site


After several health advocates and librarians commented that excluding 'abortion' as a search term in the world's largest reproductive health Web site amounts to censorship, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health decided to restore the search term.

How the restriction was introduced in the first place is still unclear. When Dr. Michael Klag, Dean, Bloomberg School, found out that the term 'abortion' was registering no results from POPLINE (stands for Population Information Online), he ordered it be restored. Dr. Klag has started an inquiry to find out why the omission was decided on.

POPLINE is a free database, containing over 350,000 records, which contains quotes (citations) and abstracts of scientific articles, reports and books about family planning, sexually transmitted diseases, fertility, sexual problems, population, and other health matters. It is the world's largest reproductive health database.

Blocking the term 'abortion' denied searchers access to thousands of studies.

Klag said he could not disagree more strongly with the decision to omit the term. He added that POPLINE administrators restore 'abortion' as a search term right away. He stressed that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, and not its restriction.

According to The New York Times, Gloria Won, Librarian, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, received an e-mail from POPLINE administrator Debra Dickson which said that they had made a change to POPLINE, making all abortion words Stop Words* - she indicated that they felt it was the best thing to do as the project was a federally funded one. Gloria was also told to search using terms such as 'unwanted pregnancies' - however, an 'unwanted pregnancies' is a completely different term from 'abortion'.

* Stop Word - A word (phrase) that is ignored by search engines. Such words as a, the, and is are ignored.

Scientists have backed Klag's action, saying that the exclusion of the term 'abortion' undermined researchers', students', and individuals' access to accurate and scientific data.

-- POPLINE


Abortion, Texas-Style | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS (Video Medical And Professional 2018).

Section Issues On Medicine: Women health