by Thomas Peters
This is an important story but one I don't have a great deal of time to delve into at present. Hopefully AmP readers can work towards some conclusions in the comment box after I present what I've found out (which does not appear to be very encouraging).
First what happened....
NYT: "President Obama selected Dr. Regina Benjamin, an Alabama family physician, as the U.S. surgeon general on Monday, announcing the appointment during a ceremony in the Rose Garden."
AP: "Benjamin became the first black woman and the youngest doctor elected to the American Medical Association's board. She also received 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."
That last point raised my eyebrows when I first read it.
Catholic News Service was quick to point out: "Dr. Regina Benjamin, a member of the board of trustees of the Catholic Health Association, is being nominated as surgeon general this morning."
Then this factoid emerged (via LifeNews): "Obama Surgeon General Pick Regina Benjamin Wanted Docs to Learn Abortions"
Original reporting at McClatchy Newspapers gives more cause for concern: "President Barack Obama's nominee for surgeon general is a Catholic best known for founding an Alabama clinic that treats the poor, but her lesser-known support for abortion rights puts her at odds with her church and some of the groups that have praised her work.... White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said that Benjamin "supports the president's position on reproductive health issues. Obama supports abortion rights and public funding of contraception and sex education."
Now, Benjamin's nomination for surgeon general requires Senate confirmation the Associated Press reports. So there is some chance of influencing the process.
CNA and Whispers both have long posts on the subject. Fr. Z adds this quote from the Catholic League: "Dr. Benjamin should not wait until the Senate considers her appointment to let the public know where she stands. As a practicing Catholic, she cannot chair a committee that would support mandated abortion coverage in employer insurance plans."
In the meantime, my initial take ... yet another pro-abortion Catholic pick by President Obama ... which adds support to my frequently-stated claim that the kind of catholic the Obama administration likes ... is a bad catholic.
Read more on OpposingViews.com: Obama Picks Family Doc Regina Benjamin as Surgeon General