Mildred Fay Jefferson, M.D., past board member of American Life League, past president of the National Right to Life Committee, The Right to Life Crusade and recipient of 28 honorary degrees, went quietly to meet the Lord late last week at the age of 84.
Dr. Jefferson was a heroic, inspiring, yet humble, leader who made her mark on the history books in many ways—including being the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.
If you were to ask Mildred what her greatest achievement in life had been, she would have told you it was being devoted—with every fiber of her being—to the preborn babies whose lives she defended eloquently from the moment she learned about abortion in the late 1960s until the moment of her death last week.
Not a day went by without her sounding the call to stop abortion—addressing the most egregious human rights violation in the history of mankind—and doing all that was humanly possible for one strong woman to do to expose the criminal act of abortion. She often told me that she prayed daily for God to give her the strength to move forward and to ignite the spark of zealous indignation among the people of this nation so that they would carry the banner for the babies until victory was achieved.
While we cannot lay her to rest knowing that she achieved her goal, we can do so knowing that, without her, this pro-life, human rights movement would never have grown to the historic proportions it has. Nor would we be as motivated to carry on for the babies, for the Lord—their Creator—and for her.
Mildred endeared herself to countless thousands of Americans who will miss her smile, her words of leadership and guidance, her ever-wise advice and her counsel. Through our tears, however, we understand that she would not want us to dwell on her passing, but to carry the torch she lit so many years ago. And she would not want us to look back. She’d say we must always look forward to embrace the challenges that lie ahead for the preborn, the elderly and the infirm.
The world has lost a great leader the likes of which will never pass this way again. We herald her remarkable accomplishments; we celebrate her life of valor, commitment, leadership, deep faith and love; we mourn her passing and we resolve never to stop defending the children who meant the world to Mildred Fay Jefferson, M.D. She gave her life in their service; we will not let her memory die.
Final arrangements will be announced later this week.
To read more about Dr. Jefferson’s inspiring life, go to http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/10/18/pioneering_dr_jefferson_led_inspired_abortion_foes/?s_campaign=8315.