Friday, January 29, 2010

The Tebow Message: Choose Life

The controversy over the upcoming Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad has been incredible.

I. The Ad
The exact content of the ad is still secret, but pretty widely understood to be the story of Tim Tebow's own birth in 1987, probably told by his mother, Pam. Fox explains:
When [Pam] Tebow suffered from a dangerous infection during a mission trip to the Philippines, doctors recommended that she terminate her pregnancy, fearing she might die in childbirth. But she carried Tim to term, and he went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy and guide the Florida Gators to two BCS championships.

Pretty straightforward: an inspiring story about a woman who chose life, and how richly blessed she (and we) are for it.

II. The Reaction
Pro-choice feminist groups have been incredibly up in arms over this ad. Eleanor Smeal's ironically-named Feminist Majority has gone so far as to circulate an online petition, describing it on their website like so:
Even as the trial continues for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, CBS is planning to air an anti-abortion ad during this weekend's Super Bowl game. Tell CBS that this is no time to feed the anger and hatred of anti-abortion extremists.

In the petition itself, it calls CBS' decision to air the ad "unwise and potentially dangerous." You can just see the lone gunman: "What?! Tim Tebow's mother carried him to term despite complications! I need to kill an abortionist!" That, ladies and gentlemen, is the view of pro-lifers the Feminist Majority is marketing.

But, of course, there's still a pro-life woman to be attacked. And so, the Center for Reproductive Justice has sent CBS an open letter questioning whether Tebow's mother is making the story up, a trend followed by RH Reality Check, a popular (and insane) pro-choice blog. The crux of the "she's lying!" position is the assumption that since abortion was illegal in the Philippines, no doctor would recommend it to a woman in a potentially dangerous pregnancy. The faux-naiviety of this "Oh, but it's illegal!" view doesn't pass the laugh test coming from the same groups which drum up tales about "back alley" abortions prior to Roe.

New York's Women’s Media Center, meanwhile, criticized CBS for accepting any ad from Focus on the Family:
By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.

Jehmu Greene, the president of that group, argues that "An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year - an event designed to bring Americans together." Greene's argument almost sounds plausible, until you remember what the Tebow message is - and isn't.

III. The Message
The Tebow message is almost post-partisan on the abortion debate. That is, its effectiveness isn't dependent upon what Congress or the Supreme Court does. In this regard, it's like the movie Juno or those "Choose Life" signs. Ok, the Supreme Court has made abortion an choice. It's still a bad choice. But really, the Tebow message doesn't even go this far: it just shows life as being a better choice. This is the absolute essence of what being pro-choice would be in a sane world.

I'm pro-choice on soda, for example. I don't think that consumers should have only one option (since in the case of soda, drinking Coke doesn't kill children). My pro-choice-on-soda position doesn't mean that I'm against Pepsi running ads, showing why they're the better choice. If I were against Pepsi running ads, I couldn't really claim to be pro-choice anymore, could I? Just dogmatically pro-Coke.

Groups in favor of abortion on demand squirm at the title "pro-abortion," preferring "pro-choice." If "pro-choice" groups truly were pro-choice, they'd be elated at the message of "Choose Life," since it involves choosing. But no: this is the same crazy fringe which rejoiced when the Democratic party platform stopped claiming that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," because the idea of rare abortions was just too upsetting.

In short, all of the groups I mentioned above who attacked the Tebow ad have shown themselves for what they are: pro-abortion, not pro-choice. Women can choose, but only if they choose abortion. If they choose life (and are brave enough to talk about it), they will be smeared by their "sisters."

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Joe. I agree with you. The logic is faulty in this situation, plus it's an incredible story and one that shouldn't be shyed away from. Women should take into account stories like this as they consider their beliefs. The other thing I would mention about the term "pro-choice" is that women don't have much of a choice in that camp. They offer abortion or being a mom. Being pro-life offers many options when dealing with tough circumstances that result in pregnancy. For example, adoption, being a mom, considering finding support groups, family upbringing--meaning choosing to raise a child with your family rather than on your own if abandoned by the father. I think we could even start to offer women more services if we really focused on the core problems in our society. Care. Instead of only giving women two "choices" (abortion or motherhood), let's expand the idea of what it means to bring life into this world. Let's make the world a better place for children, and then maybe the idea of "choice" would change dramatically.

    I sort of rambled, but I think society has minimalized what it means to be alive...The Tebow story celebrates life lived fully. What's so wrong with that? Pro-choicers claim to value the life of the mother, to protect women, but really they aren't helping women at all. And they certainly aren't creating a better quality of life.

    ReplyDelete