Remembering Dr. C. Everett Koop with pictures and quotes Part 33 (includes editorial cartoon)

Dr. Koop

C. Everett Koop

Published on Feb 25, 2013

The PBS NewsHour interviewed former Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, on the anniversary of the first surgeon general’s report on smoking. Jim Lehrer interviewed Koop for a newsmaker conversation for the The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from the surgeon general’s office in Washington on Jan. 11, 1989. Koop died Monday at the age of 96.

Dr. C. Everett Koop was appointed to the Reagan administration but was held up in the Senate in his confirmation hearings by Ted Kennedy because of his work in pro-life causes.

Memorial Tribute Former Surgeon General C.Everett Koop © A Genuine G-Shot.wmv

On 2-25-13 we lost a great man when we lost Dr. C. Everett Koop. I have written over and over the last few years quoting Dr. C. Everett Koop and his good friend Francis Schaeffer. They both came together for the first time in 1973 when Dr. Koop operated on Schaeffer’s daughter and as a result they became close friends. That led to their involvement together in the book and film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” in 1979.

The Journal of Medical Ethics recently published an article advocating “post-birth abortions.” Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who wrote the article, argue that there are many cases where women have abortions because having a child would be physically, psychologically, or economically difficult for them. But what if these hardships are not realized until after the baby is born? What if the child’s father leaves, for example, or the child is born with an unforeseen disability? Should the mother have to bear the burden of raising a child in non-ideal circumstances? Or what if the financial and organizational burden of caring for the child falls to the state?Though Giubilini and Minerva acknowledge that people with severe disabilities are often “reported to be happy,” they argue:

“to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care. On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion. Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified an abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.” (emphasis original)

Medicine is one of those front lines where the specific definition of key words such as “person,” “fetus,” “justified,” “burden” and so on have huge implications. For example, why call the active murder of a baby (some advocate killing children up to a year old) “post-birth abortion”? Giubilini and Minerva explain:

“In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

There is much here that should concern us as Christians. Rather than offering my own thoughts on this, I will share some insights that I gleaned from reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (co-authored by C. Everett Koop, M.D.). Schaeffer wrote this book in 1979 to call attention to the issues at stake in the growing popularity of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Relevant as his words were in his day, they proved to be prophet of our time as well.

Though many were shocked that the Journal of Medical Ethics would publish such an article, this is merely the logical conclusion of people operating within a Darwinian mentality. If survival of the fittest really is the driving force behind life, then humanity has no inherent value. What value he has must be derived from his ability to survive. And if a young child stands in the way of another evolutionary being (i.e., a mother) of surviving in the way she wants to, why shouldn’t she practice survival of the fittest with her infant?

As soon as we leave behind an absolute standard of right and wrong, the inherent value of human life gets reworked, even discarded. We are left only with prevailing notions of what humanity is and ought to be. Looking at the push for abortion in the late 70s, Schaeffer says, “It all started with the acceptance of the attitude that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.”

He insightfully explains the degenerating logic that unfolds once we abandon an absolute standard of morality:

“At first we hear much talk of compassion for the unwanted. The discussion moves on to ‘rights,’ then to ‘my’ rights and soon to pure ‘economics.’ The discussion of life must be brought back to where it belongs—not to emotional, extreme examples, not to selfish questions of rights, not to expedience, and certainly not to economics. The matter should be discussed in terms of right and wrong.”

With regard to the use of language in these types of debates, do we really think we’re kidding anyone by calling the murder of young children “post-birth abortions”? Does the softened title make the act itself any less reprehensible? Yet this simple decision to not call it “baby-slaughtering” will likely go a long way towards its being perceived in a more understandable light. Schaeffer warned: “Language has power. The language we use actually forms the concepts we have and the results these concepts produce.”

I will explore some of the issues presented in Giubilini and Minvera’s article in the next two posts as well. But before I close this post, Schaeffer gives us another warning that we should take to heart:

“One wonders what the chances are for someone who becomes a burden in a society that practices the concept of the survival of the fittest and has begun this practice by starting to eliminate its children.”

______________________

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthenasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

In this 1979 film series they dealt with the big social issues and predicted what social problems we have in the future because of humanism. For instance, they knew that the Jack Kevorkians of the world would be coming down the pike. They predicted that there was a slippery slope from abortion to infanticide to youth euthanasia brought on by the materialistic worldview.

Dr. C. Everett Koop is pictured above.

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE

Published on Oct 6, 2012 by

Great prolife poster:

Christianity and Scientific Concerns

AP

C. Everett Koop

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Comments

  • David Lloyd-Jones  On April 12, 2013 at 6:56 am

    I’ve got bad news for you, Everette.

    You’re right that Dr. Koop was one of the good ones — but you don’t know what “oxymoron” means.

    An oxymoron is not a contradiction. AN oxymoron is a new meaning made up out of contradictions, “bittersweet” being the traditional example. Containing contradictions does not mean being a contradiction: a can of beans is not a bean.

    Maybe stick to using words you know the meaning of. Maybe stick to using theological ideas you understand, too, instead of making them up out of thin air every day.

    -dlj.

    • Everette Hatcher III  On April 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Mark Beuving wrote an article which I posted on my blog and he did quote Dr. Alberto Giubilini and Dr. Francesca Minerva and they called the term “post-birth abortion” an oxymoron. You are a better man than me if you want to take on two doctors and correct them then be my best. Thanks for setting them straight. I don’t have the confidence in my abilities in English to do that.

      • davidlloydjones  On April 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        They’re your doctors: you’re welcome to pass my perfectly clear correction and explanation on to them.

        The pretentious misuse of big words is common among people who want to appear learned in front of ignorant audiences. I think this may describe your doctor friends.

        Best,

        -dlj.

      • Everette Hatcher III  On April 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

        There are those who try to use big words in front of ignorant audiences. I am sure that does happen. However, are you suggesting that evangelical audiences are less educated than nonbelievers? I discussed earlier the correlation of IQ and religious belief. Here is the link: https://thedailyhatch.org/2013/04/10/taking-on-ark-times-bloggers-on-various-issues-part-h-are-humans-special-includes-film-abortion-of-the-human-race-reagan-to-diminish-the-value-of-one-category-of-human-life-is-to-diminish-u/

        The plain fact is there are really dumb people on both sides of the fence and really smart people on both sides. Faith comes those on both sides and so does unbelief. I graduated college in 2 1/2 years, but I don’t think I am as educated as my grandfather who was mostly educated by his own self outside of university walls.

        I have enjoyed the interaction with you David. You have made some really good points.

      • David Lloyd-Jones  On April 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

        Everette,

        I did not for a moment suggest that evangelicals are less intelligent than others — and I note with amusement that this is a frequent tactic of yours, suggesting that someone holds a stupid position which they do not in fact have, and then rebutting that position, easily because it is a silliness of your own invention.

        (It occurs to me that you may see the world as full of enemies, indeed devils, because you are readily able to attribute beliefs and motivations of your own imagining to others.)

        In the times have have spent working with various churches I have worked with evangelicals, some of whom I admire greatly. A large fraction of the African side of my family worship Seventh Day Adventist — than which I’m sure you will agree it is difficult to get *more* evangelical. My feeling is that the adamantine certainty to which evangelicals cling gives them support of great value in an uncertain world — but confidence is not proof nor even evidence, and certainty is often a decoration on delusion.

        I am sure your doctor friends are highly intelligent. I have never me a stupid doctor. It is your claim, however, that they misuse big words, and it is my speculation that they do it so order to impress the suggestible.

        With best wishes,

        -dlj.

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