Friday, August 14, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, RIP

Once upon a time the dividing line between those who were "pro-choice" and "pro-life" was not partisan. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died this week at 88, represented the honorable, and once common, tradition of the pro-life liberal. described her commitment:
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, 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." ....

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 “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.”

"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 Party’s 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. [more]

Nicholas Frankovich at First Thoughts:
.... Her moral authority she earned, as a social worker and an advocate for the mentally disabled. Her social authority she mostly inherited—and applied to noble ends, at least one of which never promised much of a return on her investment. She must have known that signing up with the National Right to Life Committee, Feminists for Life, and the Susan B. Anthony List was likely to furrow brows among some of her family and friends—and to win her some new friends whom some old friends of hers would think (though perhaps never come right out and say) were beneath her.

In letters to the editor in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, she wrote gracefully in defense of “infants in the womb,” as she called them, and must have known that such language was unlikely to win the admiration of many readers in Manhattan, Georgetown, or Beacon Hill. So she spent some of her social capital. Of that she had a lot, and she could afford to spend some of it on this—to make a donation of it to the pro-life cause. It was a form of philanthropy. And in the process she set an example that like-minded Americans found attractive. [more]

Pro-Life Women's Group Mourns Today's Passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, First Thoughts — A First Things Blog

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