by LifeForAll on Tue 11 Aug 2009 03:40 PM EDT
Eunice Kennedy Shriver with Special Olympics AthletesEunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and an outspoken pro-life advocate, died today at the age of 88. Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward Kennedy, served on the Susan B. Anthony List Advisory Board for many years. Her work highlighted the precious nature of every life and led her to start the Special Olympics in 1968.
A program inspired by Shriver's sister, Special Olympics continues to provide millions of mentally disabled athletes worldwide with a chance to shine in their favorite sports.Shriver took this respect for all human life to drive another aspect of her public service - speaking up for the unborn. On July 14, 1992, Shriver and her husband Sargent, joined public officials and community servants in signing a full-page ad that ran in the New York Times. The ad, titled the "New American Compact," passionately called for a society that protects mothers AND their unborn children. The ad writes in part,
Unfettered access to abortion on demand has addressed none of women's true needs; nor has it brought dignity to women. It has, in fact, done precisely the opposite...
The advocates of abortion on demand falsely assume two things: that women must suffer if the lives of unborn children are legally protected; and that women can only attain equality by having the legal option of destroying their innocent offspring in the womb. The cynicism of these assumptions reflects a terrible failure of moral imagination and social responsibility and an appalling lack of respect for women.
Shriver was not only a woman of her words, but a woman of action. Her work to provide for some of the most vulnerable in society changed the heart of our nation. President Ronald Reagan honored her for her mission to celebrate all life by awarding her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can recieve.
As SBA List General Chairman Jane Abraham notes, Shriver's story does not end today but will lead many more to value life. “She fought for the dignity inherent in every human life, born and unborn. Her legacy will serve as a life-affirming example to young women everywhere, and for that we are so blessed.”