Mildred Jefferson, pioneer physician, teacher, reformer, mentor, and friend to an entire generation of pro-life leaders has gone home to be with the Lord at age 84.
Born in Pittsburg, Texas, in 1926, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a Methodist pastor, she was raised in the beautiful East Texas town of Carthage and graduated from Texas College in Tyler. She earned a master’s degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Then, she went on to become the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first woman to be a surgical intern at Boston City Hospital.
Dr. Jefferson gained renown as a clinical professor of surgery at Boston University Medical School--and over the years was awarded honorary degrees by 28 colleges and universities.
She was one of the early, visionary founders of the modern pro-life movement. A tireless servant-leader, she helped to establish more than 30 pro-life organizations, boards, and committees including the National Right to Life Committee--of which she remained the at-large director to the day she died.
Her credo was unequivocal, "I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow this 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."
Dr. Jefferson was a dear and gracious friend to me, a ready counselor during the days when I first was researching and writing Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, and a faithful supporter of LifeNet, the organization we established together to stem the rising tide of RU-486 and other pharmaceutical abortifacients.
Though we mourn the loss of one of America's greatest heroes, we rejoice that Dr. Jefferson is now in the presence of her Savior, beholding the glory of the risen Christ.