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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Obvious—And Impossible—Response to the Superbowl Abortion Ad

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Via Huffington Post:

In a curious reversal of its policy against accepting "advocacy" commercials, CBS has announced that it will air an anti-abortion commercial from the right-wing, anti-choice, evangelical Christian activist group Focus on the Family during this year's Super Bowl broadcast.

The commercial will feature Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother.

Pam Tebow was advised by doctors to have an abortion when she was pregnant with her fifth child, Tim, for fear of complications with the birth, when she and her husband were missionaries in the Philippines. Her "personal story" of how her faith convinced her to carry the baby to term will form the centerpiece of the commercial, which is said to have "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life" as a central theme.

My obvious—and impossible—response after the jump

Tim Tebow's mom didn't follow her doctor's advice and chose not to have an abortion and the baby she didn't abort grew up to be a sports hero—and a damn good looking one at that—and now Tim and Tim's mom are appearing in an ad that urges all women everywhere to make the same choice that Tim Tebow's mom did—to have the baby—because, hey, look how wonderfully everything turned out for Tim and his mom when she choose life. So everybody should make the choice Tim's mom did and choose life. (The ad is being financed, it should be noted, by a political/religious organization that is campaigning to deny women who aren't Tim's mom the right to do what Tim's mom did and make a choice.)

For the record: defenders of choice support the choice Tim's mom made and believe that all women should have the same right to choose even if some women are going to make a different choice. Now here's what's so maddening about this ad and this controversy: the obvious response ad could never be produced.

There are women out there who ignored the advice of their doctors and chose not to have abortions and... their children did not grow up to be sports stars. The children they chose to carry—perhaps because they'd been exposed to simplistic "choose life!" propaganda that presented them only with best-case-scenario outcomes (your son could grow up to be a sports star!)— suffered short, miserable, harrowingly painful existences. Or their children survived thanks to medical interventions that didn't exist a generation ago but their needs took enormous financial and emotional tolls on their families, interventions and expenses that hardly seemed worthwhile given the child's low-to-non-existant quality of life.

There are women out there who regret not aborting on their doctors' recommendations. But even if you locate one of these women and she was willing to look into a camera and say, "I made the wrong choice. I should've listened to my doctors and not listened to Tim Tebow's mom. I should have gotten an abortion," that's not an ad that CBS would ever agree to air.

On Topic...

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