Government-funded website blocks searches on abortion.

The search database Popline dubs itself a “connection to the world’s reproductive health literature.” But the government-funded site, run by Johns Hopkins University, has recently begun blocking searches on the word abortion, “concealing nearly 25,000 search results” — censorship a University of California at San Francisco librarian noticed this week:

Puzzled, she contacted the manager of the database, Johns Hopkins’ Debbie Dickson, who replied in an April 1st e-mail that the university had recently begun blocking the search term because the database received federal funding. “We recently made all abortion terms stop words,” Dickson wrote in a note to Gloria Won, the UCSF medical center librarian making the inquiry. “As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now.”

The federal government also sponsors a wesbite,, that has peddled unscientific claims about abortion and has launched a national TV ad campaign promoting abstinence.



In a statement, Dean of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says, “I could not disagree more strongly with this decision [to block abortion searches], and I have directed that the Popline administrators restore ‘abortion’ as a search term immediately.”