Mildred Jefferson on marches old and new

There’s going to be a Women’s March on Washington the day after the presidential inauguration next January, organized by women troubled by the incoming president.  Watch for abortion “rights” to be featured. A few pro-lifers are planning to join (or crash) the party, although my guess is that they’ll encounter some pushback. I’d love to be proven wrong.

Note that the March for Life, scheduled a year in advance, was pushed to January 27 by the Washington authorities who issue permits, in order for the March not to interfere with post-inauguration details including cleanup. Now the “Women’s March”, newly-organized, is scheduled for the day after the inauguration.  Go figure.

If you’ve been mulling over attending the March for Life or one of its state-level equivalents, this new event should be one more nudge.  The right to life needs to be asserted at an event where it’s not merely one thing in a long list of concerns. It’s basic. Roe v. Wade needs to be challenged from the pro-life side, not celebrated by anyone. Respect for women begins with respecting their very right to life from the moment of conception, without regard to age or health or condition of dependency. The policymakers in D.C., including the man who will be the new president on January 27,  need to hear that distinctive message.

Dr. Mildred Jefferson in lab coat sitting at desk
Mildred Jefferson, M.D. Photo: National Right to Life Committee

People are welcome and needed at the March for Life in Washington as well as regional marches (in New Hampshire, that’s January 14, 2017), whether or not they come with religious convictions, and no matter who’s in the lead politically.

Those who are part of life-affirming churches have an enhanced responsibility to undertake peaceful public witness for life at those events.

I’ve been doing some research on the late Mildred Jefferson, a lion of the pro-life movement. Her papers are held by the Schlesinger Library of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. I found in there a handwritten draft of a 2003 message to pastors about the importance of public witness at marches for life. I don’t know if the message ever made its way into distribution, but something she wrote in the draft struck me as memorable.

…I will never believe that the loving-kind church communities that have supported the pro-life movement for so long can be any less charitable than the AIDS-walkers, hunger marchers or any others of those who support the hundreds of marches that go on now. 

To Dr. Jefferson, charity meant commitment.

What kind of public commitment will the pro-life movement demonstrate in January?

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