Mildred attended a segregated high school in Carthage, TX. She went on in 1951 to be the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, the first female surgeon at Boston University Medical Center, the first woman admitted to the Boston Surgical Society, and a professor of surgery at Boston University Medical School.
In addition to these (amazing) accomplishments, she was a tireless proponent of the Pro-Life cause. She did so on the basis of her Christian faith and the Hippocratic Oath.
I’m opposed to abortion as a doctor and also because I know it is morally wrong. An individual never has the private right to choose to kill for whatever reasons, be they whim, convenience or compulsion. Because I know abortion is wrong, I will use every means available for free people in a free country to see that it is not perpetuated.
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.With winsome clarity, she argued for her position. She did so in 1972 in one episode of the series, "The Advocates." Her presentation persuaded the then CA Governor Ronald Reagan. In his words:
I hope you won’t mind my writing to you, but I had to tell you how truly great you were in your testimony on the “Advocates” program regarding abortion. Yours was the most clear-cut exposition on this problem that I have ever heard. . . . Several years ago I was faced with the issue of whether to sign a California abortion bill. . . . I must confess to never having given the matter of abortion any serious thought until that time. No other issue since I have been in office has caused me to do so much study and soul-searching. . . . I wish I could have heard your views before our legislation was passed. You made it irrefutably clear that an abortion is the taking of a human life. I’m grateful to you.She challenged not only the medical community and political leaders, but all of us:
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.Read more about her here.