February 25, 2013

C. Everett Koop, the real man and the wingnut myth-to-be

Getty Images photo via Yahoo
Now that C. Everett Koop, the man who made the Surgeon General's position into a bully pulpit (setting aside Luther Terry and the warnings on cigarette packs in 1964) has died at the age of 96, it's time for taking stock.

Before the wingnuts start inventing stock, like they did with St. Ronald of Reagan.

I can already tell you, he's going to be proclaimed as an anti-abortion zealot.

But the truth, even if we restrict ourselves to abortion, is more nuanced.

Koop never lessened his personal opposition to abortion. But, while Surgeon General, he refused to sign off on bullshit pseudomedical "research" that claimed abortion damaged many women's mental health. If the greater wingnuttery of claiming abortion caused cancer had been brought up 25 years ago, Koop would have kicked those people out of his office, I think.

And, setting aside whatever personal thoughts he had about gay sexuality, or extramarital sexuality in general, he stressed the use of condoms rather than abstinence in fighting the spread of AIDS.
Koop personally opposed homosexuality and believed sex should be saved for marriage. But he insisted that Americans, especially young people, must not die because they were deprived of explicit information about how the HIV virus was transmitted.
Again, this is as opposed to abstinence-only sex education that Rick Perry and other wingnuts say they "know" works, without any evidence, without any, per Koop, explicit information.
Hell, he even supported advertising condoms on TV!

Also, per his New York Times obit, he tried to get both Reagan and Poppy Bush to do more about getting more people to have health care, even if he later opposed Obamacare.

In short, Koop was a man of integrity. And, as a sidebar, this is another reason why Gnu Atheists should be a bit slower about blanket "bashing" of people of religion.

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