C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Taught Evangelicals to Hate Abortion, Dies at 96
C. Everett Koop, the Christian physician and former U.S. Surgeon General who brought abortion to the forefront of evangelical social action, died Feb. 25 at age 96, Christianity Today reports. Together with theologian Francis Schaeffer, Koop -- a pioneering pediatric surgeon -- exposed the issues of abortion and euthanasia in a series of films and books in the early 1980s. Their arguments began the movement against abortion that continues within American evangelicalism today. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cornell Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania, Koop established the first neonatal surgical intensive care unit and was the first surgeon to separate twins conjoined at the heart. "Operating on newborns with life-threatening birth defects, spending nights at the bedside of a sick or dying child, and consoling bereaved parents gained Koop acclaim as a pioneering surgeon and empathetic healer, and led him to reexamine his Christian faith and the ethical implications of medical procedures, above all abortion and euthanasia," according to the National Institutes of Health. Koop continued to speak out on abortion as recently as 2009, when he wrote and hand-delivered a letter to Congress to voice his opposition to proposed federal funding for the procedure.