“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Remembering Dr. C. Everett Koop with pictures and quotes Part 17 (includes editorial cartoon)

Newsmaker Interview with Surgeon General 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.

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

Christianity and Scientific Concerns

Six evangelical scholars–including C. Everett Koop–in a panel discussion on technology and bioethics.
Carl F. H. Henry
[ posted 2/25/2013 8:01PM ]
Christianity and Scientific Concerns

AP

This conversation originally appeared in Christianity Today’s May 25, 1973, issue. We’re republishing it today because it was our magazine’s first significant interview with C. Everett Koop, who would later become Surgeon General of the United States. (Koop died today at age 96.) But the issues discussed here—including the environment, abortion, euthanasia, the dehumanizing effects of technology, genetic testing, and other concerns—remain highly relevant 40 years later.

Meeting in Philadelphia for a semi-annual board meeting, directors of the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies gathered in Tenth Presbyterian Church for an informal discussion on “Christianity and Scientific Concerns.” Taking part were V. Elving Anderson, professor of genetics and cell biology, University of Minnesota; Martin Buerger, institute professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and university professor, University of Connecticut; C. Everett Koop, professor of pediatric surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Gordon Van Wylen, formerly dean of the School of Engineering, University of Michigan, and now president of Hope College; and Orville S. Walters, professor of health science and lecturer in psychology, University of Illinois. The moderator was Carl F. H. Henry, professor-at-large at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, president of the IFACS directors, and CT’s first editor.

Henry: Others say that the real problem facing us is not solely technology: man himself is the problem. The thought of the population explosion provides an opportunity to invite Dr. Koop to speak.

Dr. Koop: The population explosion is certainly an overwhelming problem and a Christian concern; we cannot turn our backs on it. I am convinced that abortion is not the answer. I have spent more than twenty-five years of my life preserving the lives of newborn babies, many of whom are defective, and since I have found this to be a rewarding scientific and Christian endeavor, I am not likely to succumb easily to propaganda that the way to stop producing too many people is to kill some just before they are born. From cover to cover the Word of God seems to me to say that life is precious to God. Now, we can argue about when life begins; I do not think it can be settled. Neither a sperm nor an egg can reproduce itself, but once an egg and a sperm have united and there is the proper number of chromosomes, it seems to me that there will be a human being with God-consciousness unless somebody interferes with that developing zygote. Now, I would not think of killing a baby that was born horribly defective, because it is murder, even if it is but one minute old. If I were to go back just one minute, to the actual moment of birth, I would not kill it then. If I were to go back one minute before that, I would not kill it then or one minute before that, or before that, or before that, right on back to the fertilized egg. Looking at life as though it were a cheap commodity will infiltrate other aspects of our attitude toward people, and eventually we might get to the point where we try to evaluate life on the basis of quality. There are a number of people in this audience who have a quality of life that other people would not consider up to their standard. If the day comes when we do not have enough food, you might be eliminated. If abortion had been practiced when your mothers were pregnant the way it is advocated now, at least 25 percent of you would not be here.

Koop: Dr. Buerger’s comment about wisdom brings up the dilemma of what might be called biological schizophrenia that a surgical specialist often faces, with respect to not only the right to life, which has already been mentioned, but also the right to die. There comes a place in my kind of a physician’s life where strict adherence to the sanctity of life conflicts with Christian compassion. Here the spiritually sensitive person who has to make decisions, is driven to seek answers in prayer. Life magazine recently published four case histories of people who would rather be dead than alive, or whose families would rather have them dead than alive; I think one now is dead because he chose to shut off his kidney dialysis machine. Just as some people are talking about the right of the newborn to live and the family’s right to condemn him to die, so some people are looking at the other end of the human lifespan and are discussing euthanasia. This word means different things to different people; to me euthanasia means terminating the life of someone whose quality of life does not come up to your standard of life. I do think that there is an area in Christian medicine where the withholding of extraordinary care is an act of Christian compassion. For example, if someone under my care lay dying of a malignant tumor and in great pain, yet could have his life preserved by the heroic measures of blood transfusion and X-ray therapy but without any hope of the preservation of productive or even half-productive life, I think the Christian physician has the right to withhold that kind of therapy. If I might classify it this way, I think there are several ways that you can approach the care of a medical patient. If I get appendicitis tonight, I hope that someone takes me to a good hospital and that I have a good anesthesiologist and a good surgeon and that my appendix is removed and that I recover. Now, if under anesthesia something were to go wrong, and I were deprived of oxygen for sufficient time to render me anoxic, so that when I recovered from anesthesia I would have to look forward to a life as a vegetable, then I would not want anyone to take the extraordinary measure of keeping my carcass artificially alive with a respirator and with blood transfusions just to say, “Koop did not die on the table or within thirty days of the operative procedure and therefore is not an ‘operative mortality.'” I do not think that is good medicine; it certainly is not Christian medicine.

__________

Over and over again you hear the argument that it is the woman’s body and she can do with it as she wishes. That is the issue touched on by the editorial cartoon below.

Dr. Koop.

C. Everett Koop

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