Letter from Judie Brown, American Life Lobby to C. Everett Koop
Earlier, in April 1982, Koop had become involved in a medical, ethical, and legal controversy over the denial of medical treatment
to babies born with disabling birth defects, the so-called "Baby Doe" controversy. Over the next two years, media
reports of similar cases in which parents chose to withhold medical treatment from their severely disabled newborns, including
cases of children with spina bifida (a defective closure of the spinal cord, leading to paralysis of varying degree) such
as the one referred to in this letter, led the U.S. Congress to amend federal child abuse laws to include such denial of treatment.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (68,470 Bytes)
1982-06-23 (June 23, 1982)
American Life Lobby
Koop, C. Everett
Reproduced with permission of Judie Brown.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Refusal to Treat
Congenital Birth Defects and the Medical Rights of Children: The "Baby Doe" Controversy
Even as I write this letter, the outcome of the Robinson, Illinois, spina bifida baby is still in doubt. The infection has
not yet been cleared up and the vital surgery is still pending.
We do know now, however, that without the tremendous efforts of a small handful of individuals, the outcome in this case could
have been dramatically different. The Robinson baby could have met the same fate as did "Infant Doe" in Bloomington,
On behalf of the "Infant Doe Memorial Fund," it is my great pleasure to send you the enclosed Certificate of Recognition
for your tremendous individual efforts on behalf of the Robinson baby. Please accept it with the most heartfelt thanks of
all of us who believe in the sanctity of all human life, and who know that God's most defenseless members of the human
family need our constant vigilance and efforts to insure their survival.
The American Life Lobby has established the special "Infant Doe Memorial Fund" so that we can be prepared to take
action -- at a moment's notice -- to protect the lives of the newborn who may be threatened by their parents, medical
professionals, or governmental inaction.
Again, my deep thanks for your efforts to insure that the life of Infant Doe was not sacrificed in vain.