By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life leaders in the nation's capital today mourned the loss of Anne Higgins, a well-loved leader in the pro-life movement known for her work defending the life of the unborn as a member of the staffs of three U.S. presidents.
Higgins, 70, succumbed to a decades-long battle with cancer August 12. Her funeral was held at her parish, St. Stephen Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., where Pat Buchanan delivered the main eulogy reflecting on her behind-the-scenes pro-life work as head of correspondence for Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Connie Mackey of the Family Research Council, who had been on Higgins' staff, recalled that she "missed no opportunity to bring the President’s message on life to millions of people."
"[Higgins'] name may not mean much to people born after the Roe v Wade decision came down from the Blackman Supreme Court, but she was one of the most effective fighters for life this country has known," wrote Mackey. "Anne used her position to influence not only the President and his cabinet, but Congress and foreign dignitaries as well."
Dan Zeidler, who was present at the funeral, remembered Anne as a dedicated defender of the unborn who maintained a "wonderful positive spirit" even throughout her long battle with cancer. Zeidler says he met Anne while serving as executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life about 30 years ago.
"She's a wonderful person in the movement, a lot of history, great dedication," he said, describing her primary qualities as "loyalty, great love for her faith and for the unborn, just total dedication to the unborn, and a tremendous heart for people, the vulnerable ... a very generous person." Outside her White House position, Zeidler said Higgins also came to the aid of the unborn and their mothers at pregnancy assistance centers.
Together with her husband George, Higgins was famous for her hospitality. She often allowed friends and young people to live at property they owned next door to their own home in the Foggy Bottom district of D.C., virtually free of charge for months at a time.
One of Higgins' jobs, according to Buchanan, was to select 30 letters to be handed on to the president at the end of each week to give a feel for the type of correspondence coming in. One letter she passed on was from a woman who had decided against an abortion 40 years ago - and, now dying, was being taken care of by her 40-year-old son.
While Higgins was no public figurehead, noted FRC's Mackey, her behind-the-scenes work was integral to building the pro-life movement, and her friendship with Congressman Harry Hyde "provided the needed platform to launch the fight for those who could not speak for themselves."
"Anne showed us true activism and she never wavered on behalf of the innocent unborn, the infirm, and for creatures great and small. She made a difference in this world," she wrote. "To paraphrase Henry Hyde, she will be met at Heaven’s gate by millions of babies yet unborn who will carry the message, 'job well done … good and faithful servant.'"