No Shades of Gray


Document Publication: National Review Online - New York, NY

Publication Date: August 17, 2012

Father Frank and Georgette Forney in National Review tribute to Nellie Gray.  For the complete article go to


Thanks to Nellie Gray, I have a standing appointment every January 22 at the place where the most disastrous decision in American history was made. On that now-infamous date in 1973, newspapers across the country declared in their headlines that the U.S. Supreme Court had “settled the abortion issue.”

But because a courageous woman knew she couldn’t live with that decision, she mustered her forces to march on Washington and say abortion is murder and would not be tolerated in a nation whose Declaration of Independence declares the right to life inalienable.

She found her motivation to fight abortion by thinking about how the Nuremburg trials had made it clear that there are laws of human nature that no government may transgress.
It is regrettable that we still march, but march we do, in ever-growing numbers. Our presence, in the hundreds of thousands, in the seat of government of the most powerful nation in the world, is proof that abortion remains the most unsettled issue in America.

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade could be the most important yet. There are certain galvanizing moments in the history of every movement for social reform — moments that represent definitive turning points on the path to victory. For the pro-life movement, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade can and should be such a moment. Priests for Life is mobilizing a coordinated effort to have events not only in January but throughout 2013 to bring focus to the holocaust of abortion and how to end it.

We will have to march without Nellie Gray this year, but when we ultimately march to victory — and we will, I assure you — it will be because a woman of great faith and great conviction was bold enough, and heartbroken enough, to take those first steps.

— Fr. Frank Pavone is national director of Priests for Life and president of the National Pro-life Religious Council.


I can’t recall a conversation with Nellie Gray in which the topic of unity was not discussed. Her main goal and greatest desire was to see people unite in support of the sanctity of life and protection of the pre-born.

She was faithful in this effort, especially in including the women and men from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. As people who have been involved in abortion, we expected her (and all pro-lifers) to ignore us and reject us. Instead, she embraced us and gave us a platform to share our message of regret and hope in the help that is available.

Each year Nellie invited us, as Silent No More women and men, to help lead the March for Life, during which we carry our “I Regret My Abortion/I Regret Lost Fatherhood” signs. I cannot tell you how many people embrace us and reach out seeking help for themselves or family members.

By uniting even those who have personally experienced abortion, Nellie was able to create an atmosphere during the March for Life that continues throughout the years as pro-lifers reach out to both pregnant women and those who have suffered from abortion.

As we approach 40 years of legalized abortion, the encouragement Nellie gave to us who have had abortions has inspired more women and men to be silent no more, and we are dismantling the argument that women need the right to abortion as we share how wrong and bad the choice of abortion has been in our lives.

Our voices, along with everything being done by the many pro-life groups, are uniting to make abortion less acceptable and ultimately unthinkable.

— Georgette Forney is president of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.





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