April 4, 2008
Statement Regarding POPLINE Database
I was informed this morning that the word "abortion" was blocked as a search term in the POPLINE family planning database administered by the Bloomberg School’s Center for Communication Programs. POPLINE provides evidence-based information on reproductive health and family planning and is the world’s largest database on these issues.
USAID, which funds POPLINE, found two items in the database related to abortion that did not fit POPLINE criteria. The agency then made an inquiry to POPLINE administrators. Following this inquiry, the POPLINE administrators at the Center for Communication Programs made the decision to restrict abortion as a search term.
I could not disagree more strongly with this decision, and I have directed that the POPLINE administrators restore "abortion" as a search term immediately. I will also launch an inquiry to determine why this change occurred.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and not its restriction.
Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH
Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health