Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
It appears I may have spoken too soon earlier today, in suggesting that President Barack Obama’s Catholic nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, hasn’t been supportive of legal abortion.
Sharp-eyed Daily Blog reader Laura Rohling directed my attention to this article published yesterday by Lifenews, which indicates Benjamin does have a record of support for abortion.
However, Benjamin has also urged that future physicians be trained to learn how to perform 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 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 supported teaching doctors to do 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.
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.