March for Life Nellie Gray, who passed away Monday evening, is seeing an outpouring of support fro pro-life groups and leaders across the nation, who say she was a tireless pro-life leader they will always remember. The following are some of the many statements LifeNews received today:
Brad Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute:
From the beginning, Nellie has been a prominent leader in the pro-life movement. It is hard to imagine attending the March for Life and not hearing her encouraging words. Nellie never let her advancing years slow her down and was always known for her passion and tenacity on behalf of the nation’s unborn babies. Because of her efforts, there are babies who were given the chance to live. I will miss her greatly.
Concerned Women for America:
Nellie Gray truly was like a modern day Queen Esther. She stood firm and told the truth about the destruction of the unborn to the leaders of our nation. She was born for ‘such a time as this’. Her legacy will continue as we march this year, and as long as it takes, to overturn Roe v. Wade in an attempt to protect women and babies from the horror of abortion. Nellie would want us to continue her tireless fight. I am inspired by the legacy she leaves.
This 2013 March for Life will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the 39th anniversary of the March, and the 1st march without its leader and visionary, Nellie Gray. If I could tell her now how much her example of leadership means to the women of this country-from serving as a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II to retiring from a professional life as a lawyer to become a pro-life activist, I know she would humbly pass it off. But I pray young ladies see Miss Gray’s example and follow in her very big footsteps to lead the women of this country towards a better future.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins:
Nellie lived a life of heroic service to the unborn. Nellie will be remembered most for her passionate and ardent protection of every life, without exception. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the sad reality that 54 million babies have been lost to abortion in America , let us pay appropriate homage to Nellie by recommitting ourselves to do everything possible to protect and defend the unborn
America Values president Gary Bauer:
Nellie Gray, one of America’s leading pro-life advocates, passed away last night. Hers may not be a household name, but Nellie was the indomitable force behind the annual March for Life. While the January weather in Washington can be daunting, Nellie could not be stopped by the natural elements or the political climate. She was a modern-day civil rights leader who year after year issued a clarion call for America to honor its founding principles and to recognize in law that we are all endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to life.
In spite of the naysayers, Nellie never grew tired because she knew there is no inevitability in these issues. The battle to end the injustice of slavery was not quick or easy, but victory came nevertheless. And over the decades, as Nellie grew older, the crowds at the March for Life grew younger. While the media often avoided images of the marchers, the fact remains that more and more young people join in each year. That fact was a tremendous source of encouragement to Nellie and to all of us who have fought the good fight for the sanctity of life since 1973. Carol and I offer our prayers and condolences to Nellie’s friends and family. And we join them in celebrating a life well lived.
Judie Brown, president of American Life League:
Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life, was a shining light in my life from the first moment I heard her speak at the 1976 March for Life. The subjects of her talk were human personhood and her hero at the time, Senator Jesse Helms, who led the fight for a personhood amendment to the Constitution from 1975 until his departure from the Senate. Nellie never wavered from principle and set a standard for every one of us in pro-life leadership. We will miss her, but we thank her for showing us the way to true, meaningful victory for every human being, born and preborn.
Congressman Chris Smith: ”
Since 1974, Nellie Gray, a former corporal in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, marshaled an army of young bright faces who marched on Washington protesting the Supreme Court decisions of 1973 which imposed abortion on demand up until the moment of birth on Americans,” said Smith. “Undoubtedly, millions of lives have been touched by Nellie’s leadership and countless preborn children have been saved.
“In 1974 at Nellie’s first March, I, along with thousands of others, gathered in the nation’s capital believing that the tragedy of Roe v. Wade would be short lived. Decades later, Nellie’s commitment to the cause and tenacity have made a huge difference and never wavered. The event hatched in her living room went on to become the nation’s largest annual pro-life gathering.
“Nellie dedicated the last 38 years of her life to organizing the March for Life and serving as an extraordinary pro-life leader. Even in the worst of weather and poor health, Nellie emceed the March with unstoppable dedication. Due to her leadership, the 1973 fateful Roe v. Wade decision has been marked annually with a somber remembrance that gives voice to the defenseless unborn and the women wounded by abortion.
“The March always refuels the passion of pro-life Americans dedicated to reversing Roe v. Wade so that once again women and children will be protected from the tragedy of abortion,” said Smith. “In Nellie’s name we will continue her legacy of unceasing commitment to defending the unborn.”
Care Net President, Melinda Delahoyde:
Nellie has been an inspiration to me and so many pro-life leaders. Her tireless advocacy for women and their preborn babies began when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand in the United States and Nellie never stopped for an end to the brutality of abortion. Nellie brought her experience as a World War II Women’s Army Corps corporal and attorney to bear on the entire pro-life movement. She founded and led the annual March for Life. The March – and Nellie’s personal example – motivated, energized and inspired generations of life-affirming leaders and local activists. The Care Net family extends heartfelt condolences Nellie’s family and dear friends. We pray for their comfort in this season of grief.
Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest:
It is with great sorrow that I and the team at Americans United for Life learn of the passing of Nellie Gray. From the first days after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, Nellie understood the importance of marking that day with what became the March for Life, a visual reminder of the broken hearts of millions of Americans who continue to struggle with the callous attitude of the abortion industry toward unborn children and their vulnerable mothers.
She had a fierce heart that valued all people – born and unborn – fearlessly working to create a picture worth a thousand words – the sight of hundreds of thousands of peaceful Americans calling on their courts and their legislators to defend life in law. When we march this January in solemn commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe, we will miss Nellie and her unflagging determination to press on toward the goal. But march we will, with deep gratitude for the example she set of sacrifice and commitment to the human rights struggle of our day.
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Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser:
Nellie Gray began and maintained a purity of intention rare to any human rights movement,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser. “She relied upon one power to guide her: the power of the Holy Spirit. She revealed it to be more effective than all the political strategy this world could formulate – as evidenced by the consistent crowds of hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans at the March for Life in recent years. Now Nellie is prepared for the glory she did not experience on Earth and that pro-life Rep. Henry Hyde described vividly:
‘When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God — and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world — and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him, because he loved us!”’”