Former surgeon general C. Everett Koop was a towering figure in the world of public health. A pediatric surgeon with deeply held religious convictions, Koop was an iconoclast willing to challenge the accepted wisdom of both major political parties when their platforms contradicted the evidence. What could public health officials today learn from Koop's example?
Everett Koop was a man of morals. A religious man who read the bible. He was also a man of science. He got his job through politics. Yet he knew how to keep these forces separate. Nowhere was this more apparent than in his pushback against political pressures to oppose abortion on health grounds and to educate the populace on AIDS and against tobacco use.
Even with the hot-button topic of abortion, there's one thing that nearly everyone can agree upon: having as few abortions as possible. And recent data from the Centers for Disease and Control states that the abortion rate in America has fallen by roughly one fifth from 2004 to 2013.
This week, Senate Republicans released a budget proposal that would significantly cut funding for Title X (the federal family planning program) and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program. This comes just a week after the House of Representatives proposed eliminating Title X altogether.