WASHINGTON — At news of the death of Miss Nellie Gray, founder and long-time organizer of the annual national March for Life in Washington, Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offered the following comment:

“Today is a sad day in the pro-life movement as we mourn the passing of Nellie Gray, who faithfully devoted herself to the legal protection of the unborn without exception. Through the March for Life, she mobilized millions to protest the injustice of Roe v. Wade and to speak out on behalf of unborn children, who have no voice of their own. While Miss Gray did not see Roe overturned in her lifetime, the movement she helped build – especially its young members – will not rest until the right to life is restored once again. May the angels lead her into paradise!”

The national March for Life draws hundreds of thousands to Washington around January 22 each year to protest Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion though all nine months of pregnancy throughout the United States. Miss Gray led the March for Life from its inception in 1974 through 2012. Similar annual events now take place all around the country.

Gray, who converted to Catholicism as an adult, was single and a parishioner of St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Washington.