The “world’s largest database” on reproductive-health issues, run by Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been blocking searches for the term “abortion” because of concerns over federal financing, according to Wired.
A librarian at the University of California at San Francisco became “puzzled” on Monday after running a routine search, and she then wrote to the database’s manager at Johns Hopkins to ask if the database had been changed. It has nearly 25,000 articles using the word.
“We recently made all abortion terms stop words,” the database’s manager, Debbie Dickson, replied in an e-mail message. “As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now.”
The database receives money from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the federal agency whose mission is “extending a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country.” Since 1973, the agency “has been legally prohibited from supporting or encouraging abortion as a method of family planning,” according to the agency’s Web site. —Catherine Rampell