Potential Barack Obama Surgeon General Nominee Sanjay Gupta Withdraws Name
by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — CNN medical reporter Sanjay Gupta, who has been mentioned for months as the possible Surgeon General nominee for Barack Obama, has withdrawn his name from consideration. Gupta took some positions on abortion-related issue that raised concerns for pro-life advocates.
Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and considered a media celebrity of sorts for his role in reporting on medical matters for the massive cable news network.
During an interview with CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Thursday, Gupta indicated he would not be interested in the position.
"This is more about my family and my surgical career," Gupta said about the reasons for taking his name out of consideration for the post.
"I think, for me, it really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else," he said. "I just didn’t feel I should do that now."
Gupta indicated he would likely have to stop practicing medicine if he took the position as the nation’s top physician spokesman. Also, he and his wife are expecting a new baby and he said that would take away time from his family.
Gupta told King that he had not been officially nominated for Surgeon General, but added that he had discussions with top Obama administration officials and was considered Obama’s top choice for the position. He had met then-President-elect Obama in Chicago in November to discuss the post.
The CNN medical correspondent is a former special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton and he has taken some pro-abortion positions on selected issues.
Gupta has been accused of supporting abortions for disabled unborn children, opposing protections for pro-life medical professionals, and denying the risks associated with the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.
In a December report for CNN, Gupta appeared to join abortion advocates in condemning the Bush administration for approving new regulations that offer more protections for doctors and medical centers not wanting to be involved in abortions.
Gupta’s report appeared more like an editorial and stressed the concerns pro-abortion groups laid out about the plan.
…[I]ts a bit of a slippery slope. I mean, when you say, Im not going to provide care based on my own conscience…you can imagine that opens up a whole wide range of possibilities, in terms of what is going to be treated and what is not," Gupta said.
To Matthew Balan, a writer for the Media Research Center, a media watchdog group, Gupta’s report made it clear he opposed the pro-life regulations.
"Gupta began the report … by immediately trying to cast doubt on the need for the new regulation from the HHS," Balan wrote, adding that Gupta made it so "CNN sided against the expansion of health care workers right to not participate in controversial medical procedures like abortion."
Meanwhile, Dave Shiflett, in a November 2003 column for National Review, said Gupta mirrored the views of a CNN news story on abortion and Down syndrome babies.
Shiflett accused CNN of reporting on a new prenatal test that can detect the presence of Down Syndrome and saying the greatest benefit of it is that it gives "mothers-to-be more peace of mind and more time to end a pregnancy."
He said that pro-abortion view was "a position shared by on-air medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta."
Shiflett talked about a friend who wrote to Gupta and condemned his saying that mothers should consider an abortion when confronted with a disabled unborn child.
"This presumption that early detection of a disability would naturally lead a mother to terminate her pregnancy smacks of a modest proposal’ mentality," the letter noted. "Heretofore, I was not aware that CNN was in the business of editorializing on such grave social policy implications."
Shiflett said Gupta’s position in favor of "weeding out the ‘unfit’ otherwise inconvenient a practice once known as eugenics is standard
Finally, in a September 2003 news report, Gupta denied that the dangerous abortion drug mifepristone resulted in the death of California teenager Holly Patterson.
Gupta said authorities "don’t know" if the abortion drug killed Patterson.
"There have been two particular cases, where women have died after taking the pill, although their deaths were never conclusively linked to the pill itself."
In fact, 14 women who have used the abortion drug have died to this point and 1,100 women in the United States alone have faced complications — with some so serious they required hospitalization or blood transfusions.
"The track record is pretty good," Gupta said of the abortion drug, comparing the problems associated with it to a natural miscarriage.
Gupta has also been criticized for serving as a health policy advisor during the Clinton administration to Hillary Clinton, whose massive national health care plan contained a provision calling for taxpayer-funded abortions.
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