Remembering C. Everett Koop

 A type of honesty that is too often in short supply

By Laura Lorenzo  – Op-Ed

C. Everett Koop was nominated for Surgeon General in 1982. I was a NOW-member, at the time. What we knew was that he opposed abortion, and was associated with Francis Schaeffer. That put him on the fringe, or so we thought.  Many letters and phone calls later, he was appointed. Then, as now, interest groups like to harrumph over appointments, whether there’s a chance of defeating them or not.

C Everett KoopAbout Mr Koop, liberals were as wrong as ever. While he remained pro-life, he held it as a moral issue, and would not adopt the notion that abortion was psychologically harmful to women. This was certainly not pleasing to the Reagan Administration.  He also took a more humane view about AIDS than what existed at the time. He believed in abstinence outside of marriage, but was more interested in educating than condemning.

All too often, people who oppose one thing for personal, moral reasons, try to enhance their position with other concerns. Pro-lifers who oppose exceptions for rape or incest defend it in ridiculous, offensive ways. Liberals who oppose enhanced interrogation can’t just say that it’s wrong, they have to say that it doesn’t work. They never explain why people want to do it if it “doesn’t work”, but no matter.

You can agree or disagree about the psychological effects of abortion. You can’t fault Mr Koop for refusing to grab something that would seem to buttress his beliefs. It is a type of honesty that is too often in short supply.

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  • Larry Kelly

    Going against the grain of your colleagues in DC always was and always will be a rare thing. Don’t look for rewards in this lifetime..