Dr. C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States, recently died at the age of 92. He lived a long, healthy life, fitting for a steward of a nation's health.
Pro-life groups have heaped praise on Dr. Koop, who was an outspoken supporter of the right to life. As a medical professional, he understood the humanity of the unborn child. He also established the first neonatal intensive care unit in the United States, at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, saving countless babies.
His concern for human lives did not end with the unborn and newly born; Koop was pro-adult-life as well. He campaigned strongly against the dangers of smoking. He deserves special praise for his response to the AIDS epidemic, at a time when many Americans were uncomfortable even discussing sexually transmitted diseases. Although he was a devout Christian, he served the nation from a secular standpoint, setting aside any personal feelings about sexuality and condom use in order to prevent the spread of a lethal disease.
Pro-lifers' compassion cannot end at birth. Dr. Koop's legacy is an example to us all.