Pro-Life Women’s Group Mourns Today’s Passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
by Steven Ertelt
August 11, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Although other members of the Kennedy family abandoned their pro-life beliefs as their political stock rose, Eunice Kennedy Shriver never did. And for that, pro-life advocates are mourning the passing of the woman who founded Special Olympics.
Shriver died this morning at the age of 88 surrounded by her family and she is survived by her husband Sargent Shriver, a former Vice Presidential nominee.
Together the Shrivers had five children and twenty-one grandchildren.
Shriver, a lifelong pro-life Democrat, was the sister of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Senator Edward Kennedy.
But she was honored by Feminists for Life of America in 1998 as a "Remarkable Pro-Life Woman."
When she received the award, FFLA president Serrin Foster tells LifeNews.com, "her husband phoned the office and asked us to send over a stack of copies for his family and friends. He was delighted that we recognized her in this meaningful way."
"Her legacy will live on in our work and especially in the work of Special Olympics," Foster says.
Shriver was a mamber of the advisory committee of the Susan B. Anthony List, a women’s group dedicated to electing pro-life women to Congress.
No one more than Eunice Kennedy Shriver understood better the power held by the most vulnerable in our society, SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews.com. She fought for those hidden in the shadows of life, while acknowledging that they teach us far more than we could ever offer them. She was consistent in her championing of every vulnerable human life.
In 1972, one year before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, Shrive told a Birthright convention that abortions could be reduced if more maternity homes could be established and more adoptive mothers found. Later, she proposed a campaign called "One Million for Life" to recruit one million people to adopt unwanted children.
"How do you equate the life of an unborn infant with the social well-being of a mother, a father or a family?" Shriver asked in 1977. "If it is thought that the social well-being of the mother outweighs the rights of fetuses with congenital abnormalities, we do well to remember that more than 99 percent of abortions are done on normal fetuses."
In 1992, Eunice and Sargent Shriver joined Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey many other influential pro-life leaders in signing a full-page ad in the New York Times protesting the Democratic Partys embrace of the pro-abortion agenda.
‘We can choose to reaffirm our respect for human life. We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn. We can choose to provide effective care of mothers and children," the ad said.
"And if we make those choices, America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring," it added.
Foster says caring for pregnant women was often on Shriver’s mind and she recalls when Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum founder Carol Crossed introduced her to Shriver in 1994.
"Shriver asked me to help organize an event in her home honoring Mary Cunningham Agee of the Nurturing Network. I was happy to help host an event for an organization focused on serving pregnant women in college and in the workplace," she said.
That meeting turned into a relationship between the pro-life women’s group and the supporter of the disabled.
Foster remembers meeting with Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver when her group opened its office in the nation’s capital.
"We were taking on too many things, especially for an office with one staff member. They encouraged us to do one thing and do it well, as they had done, serving the mentally challenged by founding the Special Olympics," Foster recalls.
Foster and the FFLA Board took the Shrivers strategic and thoughtful guidance to heart and the organization grew exponentially.
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