WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-26-13) Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest paid tribute to AUL’s former board member Dr. C. Everett Koop who passed away this week, saying he was “a pro-life giant. He saw the issues of abortion and infanticide for what they were, assaults on the civil rights of the most vulnerable of human beings.”
Dr. Yoest made the following statement: “C. Everett Koop, M.D., was a pro-life pioneer in every possible sense of the term. While most publicly known for his service as Surgeon General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan, Dr. Koop’s most enduring legacy is that which he carved in 35 years of practice as the foremost pediatric surgeon in the country, if not the world. He was among the founders of the medical specialty of general pediatric surgery, launched the Journal of Pediatric Surgery as its first editor, and in 1956 established, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the first neonatal surgical intensive care unit in the nation.
“Dr. Koop joined the Board of Directors of Americans United for Life in the mid-1970s. He published The Right to Live, The Right to Die, in 1976, setting forth his principled beliefs against abortion, infanticide, and medical neglect of handicapped newborns. He took leave from his medical practice to co-produce, with Francis Schaeffer, the groundbreaking film and book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?
“Importantly, Dr. Koop’s leadership was pivotal in turning the tide against the medical neglect of handicapped newborns. He keynoted the 1981 AUL conference, Infanticide and the Handicapped Newborn. As Surgeon General, he supported development and implementation of the ‘Baby Doe’regulations, promulgated after the much-publicized death of ‘Baby Doe’ in Bloomington, Indiana – an infant born with Downs syndrome whose parents refused to treat correctable esophageal atresia with surgery, ultimately leading to the baby’s needless death. It was no coincidence that Dr. Koop also pioneered the techniques to correct such disorders. Thanks to these regulations, and the Baby Doe Amendments passed by Congress in 1984, such deliberate and lethal medical neglect is prohibited under Federal civil rights laws.
“Dr. Koop’s name became synonymous with CHOP; his residents at that institution became the leaders of their field at hospitals in the United States and internationally. There, he developed surgical techniques that have saved the lives of countless children who otherwise would have died, or been allowed to die, because of their deformities. He invented anesthetic and surgical techniques suited to the small bodies of his patients, developed surgical techniques to correct various forms of atresias, and successfully treated extremely complex cases of conjoined twins.
“There is no doubt that Dr. Koop’s leadership in the field of neonatal and pediatric surgery literally saved thousands of lives, and continues to do so today. His own writings, and his work with Francis Schaeffer, inspired an entire generation of pro-life activists and leaders. His surgical breakthroughs, coupled with his policy leadership, made possible the civil rights protections enjoyed today by handicapped newborns.
“Tragically, his piercing question, ‘whatever happened to the human race?,’ continues to haunt the conscience of a nation where abortion on demand remains the law of the land, and campaigns for assisted suicide and euthanasia continue. He will be greatly missed.”