April 7, 2016
"I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.” Mildred Jefferson, The American Feminist, an anti-abortion magazine, 2003
Mildred Fay Jefferson was born and raised in the time of Jim Crow laws, where cities and states passed legislation restricting blacks from schools, water fountains, restrooms, neighborhoods, buses, stores, restaurants and voting booths. The Ku Klux Klan had seen a rebirth and was re-enslaving blacks, not with whips and chains, but with fear and intimidation. (see ) Jefferson also experienced the rise of Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement in the United States. (see ) Yet with the deck stacked against her, she pole-vaulted over these obstacles instead of beating her head against them.
The daughter of a Methodist minister and a teacher, Jefferson was vastly aware of the importance of faith and an education. As a young child, Jefferson was often found trailing behind the town doctor’s horse drawn buggy, which cultivated in her a love of medicine. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from Texas College in 1942 at the tender age of 16, Jefferson found herself needing to wait a few years until she was old enough to attend medical school. To pass the time, she enrolled in Tufts University and earned a Master’s degree.
At a time when not only black women, but women in general were still considered outsiders in the medical field, Jefferson proved to Sanger that African Americans are far from “human weeds”. She not only was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951, she was the first female surgical intern at Boston City Hospital as well as the first female doctor at Boston University Medical Center. With this impressive resume, it is not surprising she was also the first female member of the Boston Surgical Society.
Many would argue her medical achievements were not her most important contributions to society. To many, her involvement in the pro-life movement, including the establishment of the National Right to Life Committee, overshadows all. Jefferson fought hard to educate everyone on the evils of eugenics and its connection to racism and abortion. Where today’s political and social figures choose political correctness over principals, Jefferson stood firm in her beliefs. She rebutted Roe vs. Wade saying, “U.S. Supreme Court Justices don’t have to see the impact or consequences of their decisions ... as they want us to carry out these socially destructive missions, and I say no, and I am not willing to give up the role of doctor as healer to become the new social executioner.”
In 1981, a bill was proposed proclaiming a human life “shall be deemed to exist from conception.” A steadfast supporter of the bill, Jefferson testified before Congress declaring Roe vs. Wade “gave my profession an almost unlimited license to kill.” She continued, “With the obstetrician and mother becoming the worst enemy of the child and the pediatrician becoming the assassin for the family,…the state must be enabled to protect the life of the child, born and unborn.” The bill, had it passed, would have given states the right to prosecute abortion as murder.
A self-described “Lincoln Republican”, Jefferson rightfully equated the racist slave movement to the radical abortion movement. “In 1857, the U.S Supreme Court looked at the slave, Dred Scott, and came up with the wrong decision, declaring the slave a property and not a citizen under the Constitution. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong again and handed down decisions on abortion which declared ‘open season’ on unborn children throughout the full nine months of pregnancy.”
Beyond murdering unborn babies, Jefferson recognized the paradox this practice placed on physicians sworn to heal. She saw the road eugenics took the Nazis and adamantly warned her fellow doctors and all Americans of that danger. “The doctor who willingly accepts destroying life will have no grounds on which to object if the state should compel that doctor to destroy life.”
Driven by her convictions, she supported and worked for Ronald Reagan’s campaign in Massachusetts in 1980. Her strength and character were so powerful Reagan credited her for opening his eyes and converting him to a pro-life position. In a personal letter to Jefferson, Reagan wrote, “You have made it irrefutably clear that an abortion is the taking of a human life. I am grateful to you.” Also grateful for her work was the 4th Congressional District Chapter of the Massachusetts Republicans who named their chapter after her in 2010.
Liberty, it is with this passion, this certainty, this boldness that we should continue to proclaim the truth about life, abortion and murder. In a time where Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and others rewrite history to tell us women, let alone a black woman, had no rights or say, Mildred Jefferson stood for truth and proved them all wrong.
Mildred Jefferson would have been 90 years old on April 4th had she not gone home to our Savior’s loving arms on Saturday, October 16, 2010. Her faith led her through those 90 years with a focus not on herself, but on those of her fellow human beings.
“The fight for the right to life is not the cause of a special few, but the cause of every man, woman and child who cares not only about his or her own family, but the whole family of man.”
It’s no wonder feminists don’t want her story recited in the history books. She did not fit the mold the modern, liberal feminist wants to shove the African American woman in to, so they ignore her. Jefferson destroys their entire narrative of women and minorities. It is up to us, Liberty, to make sure these stories are learned, recorded and widely shared among young and old, black and white, rich and poor. Let’s make sure girls today know there are heroes out there that don’t roll over and comply to the PC culture we are led to believe rules.
That’s my 2 cents.
DOCTOR OF THE UNBORN