Jim Hughes is the president of Canada’s National pro-life political organization and a vice-president of International Right to Life. He is one of the great veterans of the pro-life movement, both in Canada and internationally.
Both Jim and I often attend meetings with pro-life leaders in Washington and elsewhere. Nellie Gray has been a participant at many of these meetings and so we and others at these events had developed an admiring friendship with this great woman who just recently died.
Today’s LifeSiteNews article by British writer Francis Phillips captures Nellie’s indominatable spirit and total commitment to basic life principles. It also brings to mind what Jim told me about the last words Nellie spoke to him just three weeks before she died.
In July, we were all at a meeting and Nellie was sitting behind Jim. Jim wrote what happened then in his September Campaign Life Coalition newsletter:
“At a meeting in Washington, D.C. on July 18 she sat behind me and touching me on the shoulder, she asked, “How are things going north of the border?” “About the same,” I replied.
Nellie responded, “I understand that some people are once again prepared to promote the gestational approach to abortion! Are they crazy? Stick to the course. No abortions , No exceptions. You have been through this before, you’ll get through it again.”
Those were the last words that she spoke to me. Nellie really kept her eye on all that was happening and even knew what we were going through in Canada without my even mentioning it. Her providential last words gave me encouragement at a time when I needed it. I’m going to miss her.”
Campaign Life Coalition was formed many years ago precisely as a result of the very same gestational legislation disagreement within the movement. Nellie knew that and that is why she said, “You have been through this before”.
Over the years, Nellie lived through many tumultuous disagreements over tactics. She had seen it all. Her answer to the questions, however, never wavered. But she still worked with most everyone, regardless of those differences. In the end, her simple approach of total adherence to basic life principles may yet prove to be the only one that will bring victory. Only time will tell.