ALA President Loriene Roy applauds swift action to restore full access to U.S. funded health database POPLINE

Contacts: Macey Morales


ALA Media Relations


(312) 280-5043


mmorales@ala.org




Andy Bridges


Communications Director, WO


(202) 628-8410


abridges@alawash.org
For Immediate Release,


April 4, 2008


ALA President Loriene Roy applauds swift action to restore full access to U.S. funded health database POPLINE




CHICAGO - The following is a statement issued by American Library Association President Loriene Roy regarding the controversy over the decision by database administrators to block the word 'abortion' as a search term for searches conducted on POPLINE, the 'world’s largest database on reproductive health':




POPLINE is run by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Earlier this week, librarians and individuals who used 'abortion' as a search term received the message "No records found by latest query."
Those who inquired about the inability to search on the term 'abortion' were told that the decision to restrict the term was made after USAID inquired about two items in the database related to abortion that did not fit POPLINE criteria. The Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Michael J. Klag, reversed the decision to restrict the search term when informed about the administrators' decision.

"We applaud Dr. Klag's swift action to restore full access to the POPLINE database.
We are dismayed, however, at the circumstances that caused the administrators running the POPLINE database to begin blocking any and all searches on the word "abortion." Any federal policy or rule that requires or encourages information providers to block access to scientific information because of partisan or religious bias is censorship. Such policies promote ideology over science and only serve to deny researchers, students and individuals on all sides of the issue access to accurate scientific information."