Focus on the Fetus
If Planned Parenthood or NARAL or NOW spent some $2.5 million on a thirty-second Super Bowl spot, I would never give them another dime. What a colossal waste of money! Thus, part of me was thrilled to learn that Focus on the Family was paying that staggering sum for an ad featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who say how glad they are that she didn’t follow her doctor’s advice and abort him twenty-three years ago. Every dollar FOTF spends messaging the fans is a dollar not available to pay the electricity bill or keep staff on payroll–and in fact, FOTF has recently laid off hundreds of employees. Maybe next year FOTF will show us founder Dr. James Dobson reprising his 2005 attack on SpongeBob SquarePants for appearing in a “pro-homosexual video” or advising parents on the proper way to hit their children (“the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely”).
In retrospect it was probably a mistake for prochoice and feminist organizations to demand that CBS cancel the ad. Technically, they have a strong point: after all, in recent years the network, citing a no-advocacy policy, has rejected ads from PETA, MoveOn and even a spot from the United Church of Christ that gently announced its support of diversity and openness to gays and lesbians. Only when called on the apparent double standard did CBS announce it had changed its policy–and then it was revealed that even after this supposed change, the network had rejected an ad from ManCrunch, a gay dating website. Without mentioning CBS’s history of banning progressive ads, the New York Times published an editorial denouncing protesters for “censorship.” A sensible person might wonder who, really, is being the censor here. Nonetheless, most people are not going to follow the details any more than the Times did. All they see is prochoicers trying to shut up a brave mother and her fine young son.
You have to hand it to the antichoicers. Only a few years ago they were taking out newspaper ads accusing teenage girls of having abortions to fit into their prom dresses. Today the public face of the movement is warm and woman-friendly: it’s Sarah Palin knowingly bearing a son with Down syndrome and Bristol embracing single teen motherhood and abstinence. It’s Pam Tebow, who says she refused to have an abortion although doctors warned that the antibiotics she had been given for amebic dysentery had caused a placental abruption, possibly damaging the fetus and risking her life. Doubts have been raised about some elements in her story–did the doctors “urge” abortion or just mention it as an option? Also, abortion was (and still is) illegal in the Philippines, where the Tebows were living at the time. But whatever. Trust in God and your own inner strength, the message is, and all will be well. You can do it. Choose Life.