Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop—known for his medical advocacy and his evangelical Christian faithdied today at age 96. This profile, originally published in CT's October 20, 1989, issue, was published shortly after Koop resigned from the Department of Health and Human Services.

* * *

In the first of a two-part series, CT's editor at large recounts the setbacks and triumphs of C. Everett Koop's eight-year term as U .S. Surgeon General. Part 2, an interview to appear in the next issue, will present Koop's own words about his concerns as he returns to private life.

In three decades of surgery at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital, C. Everett Koop pioneered techniques that saved the lives of premature and malformed babies. Meanwhile, in another wing of the hospital an abortion clinic opened, capable of eliminating 10 to 15 lives in the time it took Koop to save 1 or 2. Abortion increasingly became for Koop a simple, black-and-white issue. When he finally spoke out on abortion, he spoke with conviction, calling the Roe v. Wade ruling "the most important event in American history since the Civil War."

For a time Koop even suspended his brilliant career in pediatric surgery to go on the stump with L'Abri founder Francis Schaeffer. In a dramatic scene from the Schaeffer-produced film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Koop looked out on a thousand naked dolls strewn across the salt wastes of the Dead Sea and proclaimed, "I am standing on the site of Sodom, the place of evil and death."

Koop tends to see faith, too, in shades of black and white. He became a committed Christian as an adult while attending Donald Grey Barnhouse's Tenth Presbyterian ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Current IssueHow to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian
How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian Subscriber Access Only
No teasing, no favorites, and hours and hours of time with one other.
RecommendedTrump to Liberty Grads: Outsiders Change the World
Trump to Liberty Grads: Outsiders Change the World
Most white evangelicals are happy with the leader Jerry Falwell Jr. calls their ‘dream president.’
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSix Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Six Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Male clergy and laity who want to enable women's ministry often don't know how to get involved or what to do.
Christianity Today
The Embattled Career of Dr. Koop
hide this

In the Magazine

October 20, 1989

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.