Among Tuesday’s network evening newscasts, all three of which ran stories on the death of Kennedy family member , the NBC Nightly News uniquely noted that she was strongly opposed to abortion, even while she was liberal overall. Anchor Brian Williams filed a full report on Shriver, which concentrated largely on her work on behalf of those with special needs, including her founding of the Special Olympics. After a clip of former President Reagan awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work, Williams noted that she was a “lifelong opponent of abortion.” Williams: “While a lifelong liberal Democrat, she was a lifelong opponent of abortion – she said, based on her strong Catholic faith.”
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday, August 11, NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Eunice Kennedy Shriver has died at the age of 88. Today, outside the legendary Kennedy compound, Hyannis Port, Mass., members of America's most prominent political family gathered. And late today we learned that funeral services will be held on Friday for a woman who, in her time, changed the lives of so many Americans. For all the riches she was born into, the wealth and good looks and glamor of the family constantly referred to as America's political royalty, Eunice Kennedy Shriver endured a life of great pain and loss and tragedy, and in turn found a way to make life better for millions of Americans. She was the fifth of nine children born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy of Brookline, Mass. Her brother Joe was killed in World War II. Her sister Kathleen was killed in a plane crash. Her older brother Jack, the 35th President of the United States, was killed by an assassin. So was her brother Bobby. But in a way, it was Eunice's sisterRosemary who influenced her life to such a great extent. For years Rosemary was a kind of Kennedy family secret. At age 23, she was given an experimental lobotomy to control her mood swings, referred to at the time as mild retardation. The gruesome operation left her largely incapacitated for the rest of her life. Her sister Eunice first talked about it in a 1962 magazine article, and from then on became a champion of the disabled, notably in one very big way.
EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER: Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
WILLIAMS: Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a founder of the Special Olympics, which for decades has offered hope and promise for the disabled through competition.
SHRIVER: The world said that people with intellectual problems should not be seen in public. Tonight, you are part of the year's largest sporting event, and the world is watching.
RONALD REAGAN: Eunice Kennedy Shriver has labored on behalf of America's least powerful people.
WILLIAMS: When President Reagan awarded her the Medal of Freedom a quarter century ago, the highest civilian honor in the nation, it was for a lot more than Special Olympics. It was for the federal center she founded in the '60s that now bears her name as part of NIH, and another center at the University of Utah, and a life's work on mental retardation. While a lifelong liberal Democrat, she was a lifelong opponent of abortion -- she said, based on her strong Catholic faith. She was married to for 56 years. He ran the Peace Corps, was ambassador to France, and ran for Vice President under George McGovern. And while months ago he slipped into the twilight of Alzheimer's disease, Sargent Shriver survives her. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the mother of five, including a longtime member of the NBC family, the current first lady of California, .
MARIA SHRIVER, DAUGHTER OF EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER: Ever since I was little, she worked, she was successful in a man's world, she never took no for an answer. She never asked my brothers or myself if we wanted to work with her. She just gave us the ball and sent us out there.
WILLIAMS: She insisted her life was full of great blessings, but it's the public tragedies the American people remember. And in the case of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, enormous public service. Eunice Kennedy Shriver's son Bobby famously said a few years back about his mom, quote, "She never ran for office, and she changed the world." Eunice Kennedy Shriver was 88.