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The "Koop Report" On Abortion

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After the meetings and the literature review, Koop felt satisfied that his staff had gone through sufficient motions to satisfy Reagan. Koop then drafted and sent a letter to the President, concluding that there had been no unassailable studies of the long-term impact of abortion.

Koop directed his staff to drop the project on January 10, 1989, hoping Reagan would be content with the letter and would drop the subject. Nevertheless, George Walter proceeded to re-write the report, submitting it to Koop on January 17. Walter's cover letter said, "This document was reviewed and concurred with by our unofficial consulting group. It represents a balanced, well-written document which is directed to the general public. Its underpinning is scientifically sound and presents a solid, common sense approach to this important public health problem."

However, the report was not concurred with by many scientists studying abortion, such as Thomas Hilgers, Wanda Franz, Matthew Bulfin, Leonard Aaro, and Thomas McDonald. How then could it be a balanced report? It would seem so only to those who already had a strong pro-abortion bias. For example, the report says that problems such as infertility, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy "are no more frequent among women who experienced abortion than they are among the general population of women."

Koop instructed Walter to shelve the draft, and not to release any report about abortion from his office. Instead, Walter released the draft under Koop's name.


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