Friday, April 4, 2008

U.S. Funded Health Search Engine Blocks Abortion

Interested in researching "abortion" for your philosophy 251 or 252 class? Well, scratch Popline off your list of databases to check. Popline is run by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland. It's funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the federal office in charge of providing foreign aid, including health care funding, to developing nations.

In accordance with the current administration's policy to deny funding to non-governmental organizations that perform abortions, or that "actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations, Popline has apparently blocked searches on the word "abortion," concealing nearly 25,000 search results.

I guess this means that providing access to information on or about abortions is in the family of "promotion." With this reasoning, they should probably also eliminate such search terms as terrorism, violence, and civil disobedience.

You can read the full article here.

* it looks as though Popline has restored the search term since the release of the article by Wired Magazine. I searched it myself using the search term "abortion" and came up with about 25,000 hits. Nevertheless, the reason employed in making the initial decision to "block access" should make any student of logic cringe...and vote.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the hell! It is scary to think that these decision happen everyday without us knowing. It seems innocuous, but it is a form of censorship. Our language is so closely tied to our thoughts and feelings that anesthetizing our search terms is a form of aggression.