Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another round in the Republican war on science

I've written about this before, and it's one of the most annoying things about the Bush administration: the Republicans' campaign to suppress science that contradicts their ideological views.

This time it's abortion. It turns out that the Agency for International Development. You know, the Cold War agency created to advance American foreign policy across the globe without using the Army to kill people? It turns out that Johns Hopkins had a contract with the feds to create and maintain a database on reproductive health, and this database, Popline, is the world's largest database on reproductive health. Unfortunately for Johns Hopkins, the feds didn't like the idea that you could search the database to find information about abortion. (What could abortion have to do with reproductive health, after all?)

I guess Johns Hopkins had two choices: Say "Too damn bad, the science is what the science is," or knuckle under.

They decided to knuckle under, so they just instructed the database to ignore the word "abortion" whenever it was used as a search term. That's right, they just disappeared it.

Finally on Friday, the dean of the JH school of public health found out about it, and was apparently not too happy. After learning of the restrictions on Friday, the dean, Dr. Michael J. Klag, said: “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.”

They've fixed it. I just ran a search on Popline using "abortion" as the only search term and came up with almost 27,000 hits.

Still, if the Republicans have gotten powerful enough to scare major institutions into censoring scientific research, we have a lot to be worried about.

1 Comments:

Blogger Brendan said...

Still, if the Republicans have gotten powerful enough to scare major institutions into censoring scientific research, we have a lot to be worried about.

You say this like it's still a hypothetical. Consider NASA, the EPA, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, to name but three.

April 11, 2008 2:17 PM  

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