Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (pictured), who passed away February 25 at the age of 96, is being remembered for his Christian faith and for his opposition to abortion. While Koop, nominated as surgeon general by President Reagan in 1981, shocked some pro-family leaders for endorsing the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS, he was also praised for his bold stand for the unborn.
“In an era when pro-abortionists tried to declare that the abortion issue was 'settled law,' Dr. Koop provided a voice for the voiceless,” said National Right to Life in a statement on Koop's passing. The pro-life group recalled that Koop's book and subsequent film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, co-authored with the late Francis Schaeffer, “was a call to action for anyone who cared about the value and dignity of human life, but most especially the evangelical community.”
In their 1978 book Koop and Schaeffer wrote:
If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. Human life is cheapened. We can see this in many of the major issues being debated in our society today: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the increase of child abuse and violence of all kinds, pornography (and its particular kinds of violence as evidenced in sadomasochism), the routine torture of political prisoners in many parts of the world, the crime explosion, and the random violence which surrounds us.
In his 1991 autobiography Koop: The Memoirs of a Family Doctor, Koop said that the book was an effort to “awaken the evangelical world — and anyone else who would listen — to the Christian imperative to do something to reverse the perilous realignment of American values on these life-and-death issues.”
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Photo of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in 1997: AP Images