Obama Surgeon General Pick Regina Benjamin Wanted Docs to Learn About Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
July 13, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama named Alabama physician Regina Benjamin as the next Surgeon General of the United States. Benjamin is an African-American doctor who is known for rebuilding her medical clinic after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and then ravaged by fire in 2006.
However, Benjamin has also apparently urged that future physicians be trained to learn about abortions.
In 1990, Benjamin founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic to serve the Gulf Coast fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama and its 2,500 residents.
She is credited with maintaining contact with patients scattered across multiple evacuation sites and having a practice that allows her to treat all incoming patients, many of whom are uninsured and get rides to the clinic from Benjamin.
Benjamin became the first black physician and the youngest doctor ever elected to the American Medical Association’s board.
In that position, she presents some concerns for the majority of Americans who take a pro-life position on abortion.
In December 1996, Benjamin apparently spoke in favor of a vote by the AMA’s governing body to "urge medical schools to expand their curriculum" to teach "more about abortion."
She appeared to have supported teaching doctors about abortions in an interview with the Associated Press.
"We are adopting a policy that medical school curriculum provide the legal, ethical, and psychological principles associated with abortion so students can learn all the factors involved," she said.
At the time, the AMA voted to reaffirm its policy position favoring abortion, saying the "termination of pregnancy is a medical matter between the patient and physician, subject to the physician’s clinical judgment, the patient’s informed consent and the availability of appropriate facilities."
Benjamin is also on the board of directors of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization which has spoken out against illegal abortions in many nations across the world. The group has relied on disputed statistics on maternal deaths from abortions to call for legalization.
The group also called on President Bush not to expand the Mexico City Policy, which President Obama overturned in January, that stops sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations.
And it asked President Bush to ratify the CEDAW treaty that does not include abortion promotion but has been used by the United Nations to pressure numerous countries to legal abortion or expand abortions further.
She the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI awarded her the distinguished service medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Benjamin is a Catholic and she talked about her medical practice with the Catholic Digest in 2007.
“The most important thing to me is when I walk into a room and tell a mother that her baby’s going to be all right,” she says. “It lets me know that I’m doing the right thing in life.”
She told the Catholic paper that she overcame her public speaking fear when she became a lector at her church.
“Church was always a very important part of my life,” Benjamin says.
“I believe I am carrying on the healing ministry of Christ. I feel obligated to help continue his works. I think it’s important to make a difference
in everything you do, even if it’s small.”
She also received the National Caring Award, inspired by Mother Teresa, in 2000.
Benjamin’s nomination for surgeon general requires Senate confirmation.
In January, Obama appeared to have settled on Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an Atlanta neurosurgeon and top doctor at CNN, but Gupta withdrew his name from consideration citing family obligations.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.