Mildred Jefferson

I highly recommend to you the post by Anthony Esolen at Mere Comments on the passing of pro-life leader Dr. Mildred Jefferson.

A few years ago I gave a speech for the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, on what the license to abort children does to a people who allow it. It was not a "political" speech in the sense of the word common among us now; it had nothing to do with federal policies, or with any current partisan controversies. It was rather a spiritual meditation. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to live in a culture whose members would understand, not just with their scripturally trained ears but in the pulses of their blood, what it was to be Scrooge on Christmas morning, rejoicing and crying out, "I don't know anything! I am quite a baby!" Not the same as those who treat children as a lifestyle accessory, and who shunt them off into institutions as soon as they can.

There was an elderly black woman sitting in the front row, rapt, nodding occasionally and smiling. Only after the talk did I learn who she was. Dr. Mildred Jefferson was the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, having racked up an impressive educational resume along the way. She continued in a remarkable career of firsts (she was a surgeon and a professor of surgery at Boston University), and no doubt would have been celebrated as a cultural heroine from coast to coast, had not something happened in America to change her public life forever. That something was the abortion license. Of that license Dr. Jefferson had this to say:

"I became a physician in order to help save lives. 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."

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