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Pro-Life Pioneers Pay Tribute to Legacy of Nellie Gray

Editor   |   August 14, 2012

Cincinnati, OH (Aug 14, 2012) – On January 25, 2013, the March for Life will mark the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade without its beloved founder, 86-year-old Nellie Gray. While the news of her passing grieves the pro-life community, her legacy will continue to inspire and empower the future of the pro-life movement.

Brad Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute, with Nellie Gray, founder of March for Life.

As a successful lawyer, Nellie Gray was dismayed at the ruling of Roe v. Wade. Determined to make a difference for the lives of the unborn, Nellie dedicated her career and ultimately her entire life to taking a stand through the March for Life. What began in 1974 with 20,000 marchers has grown more than tenfold to include hundreds of thousands, a testimony to the mission Nellie began nearly four decades ago.

Fellow pro-life pioneer Dr. J.C. Willke expressed his sympathy, saying, “Nellie was one of the first to take on the battle to save babies’ lives. With grace and courage, she passionately stood for life. She was a dear friend and I am honored to have had the privilege to work alongside her and witness the remarkable impact she has made.”

Brad Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute, said, “ 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.”

In addition to her work with the March for Life, Nellie also supported post-abortive women through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. She invited women and men to the March, holding signs that read, “I Regret My Abortion.” This gave a face and a reality to abortion in the hopes that others would not follow in their footsteps.

It is the prayer of Life Issues Institute and the entire pro-life community that Nellie Gray’s lifework will not be in vain and that this generation will see the reversal of Roe v. Wade.


Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education, the foundation for pro-life political and legislative victories. For over 21 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest pro-life information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

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