I chose Mildred Jefferson for my VIP this week. She is a black woman who broke gender barriers and racial barriers to influence the course of the United States. She was a brilliant, Harvard-educated surgeon. “She helped found the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization” and gave “eloquent pro-life arguments.” Her passion for the unborn “inspired some of the biggest voices in the nation to speak up for the unborn.”
One of the people that Jefferson influenced was then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan. He watched Jefferson on a national television interview in 1972 and was converted to pro-life. He wrote the following to her: “No other issue since I have been in office has caused me to do so much study and soul-searching…. You made it irrefutably clear that an abortion is the taking of human life. I’m grateful to you.” As President of the United States, Reagan was “one of the most unapologetically pro-life presidents in American history.” Jefferson and Reagan frequently corresponded with each other.
Jefferson blazed a trail for women in several ways. She is so brilliant that she “earned her bachelor’s degree in three years and was the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951. She also became the first female surgeon at what was then the Boston University Medical Center.”
Jefferson became “involved in the pro-life movement when the American Medical Association decided it was ethical for physicians to perform abortions.” Jefferson felt that this decision “violated the Hippocratic Oath” and “helped found the National Right to Life Committee.” She served as its president three times and “became one of the most visible spokespersons for the prolife position in the nation.” She worked to change minds, and she worked to change the laws.
The NRLC PAC, which she helped to form, is “one of the most successful political action committees in the country dedicated to helping elect pro-life candidates.” This PAC “has been instrumental in stopping numerous attempts to advance abortion laws and in passing laws to protect the unborn and their mothers.”