Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obituary: Dr. C. Everett Koop

Obituary: One of the few decisions I ever agreed with President Reagan on was the appointment of Dr. C. Everett Koop as surgeon general of the United States. Although he had a record of being strongly anti-abortion, Dr. Koop was basically non-partisan and was admired for his strong stances on AIDs awareness and against smoking.

I'd say he was the best surgeon general this country ever had.

He died yesterday at the age of 96.

Dr. Koop had never served in public office when President Ronald Reagan appointed him surgeon general of the United States in 1981. By the time he stepped down in 1989, he had become a household name, a rare distinction for a public health administrator.

Dr. Koop issued emphatic warnings about the dangers of smoking, he almost single-handedly pushed the government into taking a more aggressive stand against AIDS, and despite his moral opposition to abortion, he refused to use his office as a pulpit from which to preach against it.

These stands led many liberals who had opposed his nomination to praise him, and many conservatives who had supported his appointment to vilify him. Conservative politicians representing tobacco-growing states were among his harshest critics, and many Americans, for moral or religious reasons, were upset by his public programs to fight AIDS and felt betrayed by his relative silence on abortion.

He didn't care much for Obamacare, but then a hell of a lot of us don't think much of it, but his public record far outweighed whatever he personally thought.


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