Originally published in The Daily Toreador.
We may not be talking about wardrobe malfunctions after this year’s Super Bowl. Instead, we may be talking about abortions.
As it stands now, CBS is set to run a Super Bowl ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, spouting a pro-life message. Christian group Focus on the Family, who is paying for the ad, says the ad will highlight the saying, “Celebrate family, celebrate life.”
Sounds simple enough to me. While it’s not the usual Super Bowl commercial staple of beer, hot women and cavemen, it doesn’t seem overly offensive.
But women’s groups – particularly Women’s Media Group, which is making an effort to have the ad rejected – are in an uproar, saying that the ad is anti-choice, intolerant and even un-American.
Now, I haven’t seen the ad for myself – though from my understanding, neither has anyone against it – but based on descriptions that have been given, it seems to focus on the fact that Pam Tebow was advised by a doctor to abort her pregnancy with tiny Tim, but she chose not to, leading to the life of sports he enjoys today. Mother Tebow apparently expresses how happy she is with the choice she made to have her baby, despite the choice to do otherwise.
A source at CBS told ABC news that the words “abortion” and “pro-life” never even appear in the ad.
Yes, that seems to imply a message of, “Hey, you should think twice before having an abortion,” but I don’t read anything more into it than that. Unless I’m missing something, the ad does not say, “If you have an abortion you make Jesus cry, and you go to hell.”
Latoya Peterson, on the celebrity news blog Jezebel, wrote, “The Tebows are now taking the stance that the only permissible option is to not terminate pregnancies, effectively denying other women the choice that Pam Tebow herself was able to exercise.” Again, without having seen the ad, I think that such a statement is a gigantic stretch. Saying, “I’m glad that I didn’t have an abortion, and I hope you consider following my example” is far different than saying, “You have no choice.”
One thing that pro-choice advocates always make clear is that no one is “pro-abortion.” Obviously no doctor wakes up excited in the morning because he gets to abort a baby or two. Likewise, no woman ever gets pregnant just so they can abort the baby. Nobody on either side of the issue likes abortion. That’s one reason groups like Planned Parenthood put such an emphasis on effective birth control.
So, knowing that pro-choice groups are never offended by women who choose to have babies rather than abort them, I disagree with the uproar being made over airing one story of one woman who chose not to get an abortion.
Now, I do understand one point that some people are making. In 2004, CBS rejected a commercial by the United Church of Christ, which advertised that the church accepted homosexuals and other groups that may have felt shunned by other churches. Even though I disagree with some of the beliefs and policies of the United Church of Christ, I have to agree that this ad should have run, and CBS should have run it.
However, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because CBS didn’t run the UCC ad in 2004 doesn’t mean that they should reject the Tebow ad in some effort to balance things out. If anything, let the UCC buy an ad spot if they still want one.
Another point: Most people watching the Super Bowl honestly aren’t going to care about this issue. CBSSport.com columnist Gregg Doyel wrote, “If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year. It’s not a day to discuss abortion.” This commercial is (I assume) not humorous, does not contain bikinis and does not feature any talking lizards. If these groups trying to ban the ad wouldn’t have made such a big deal about it, it might have passed by without anybody really noticing or caring.
I hope the Tebow ad runs on Super Bowl Sunday, not for any pro-life reasons, but purely because I think the people opposing it are overreacting. We should instead focus on ads that are truly offensive, like a banned Super Bowl ad for Airborne that featured Mickey Rooney in a spa, because old man butt shouldn’t be forced on anyone.