Pro Football, Anti-Choice

The Super Bowl, with its male posturing, scantily-clad cheerleaders, and rampant corporate sponsorships, has never been exactly a feminist’s dream come true. This year, however, there is one more reason to throw your remote at the screen and run for cover, and it comes in the form of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. And his mother. And the Focus on the Family anti-choice commercial they’ll be starring in during the game.

Tim Tebow, anti-choice advocate and apparent swamp resident.

A long-standing CBS policy against “issue ads” (both PETA and commercial spots have been rejected in the past) is being relaxed this year in order to air the 30-second spot. Though no script or video has been made available, The Christian Post states that it will, “present the former Florida quarterback’s personal story and will also feature Tebow’s mother, who refused to have an abortion while she was pregnant with him despite having suffered from a life-threatening infection.” The theme of the spot will be “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”

Let the head-desking commence.

Since we are (presumably) mostly pro-choice feminists here, I won’t go into the problems with framing a woman’s decision to risk her own life in order to give birth as “celebrating family,” or the ways in which it glorifies a woman’s ability to martyr herself for the benefit of others. Nor will I examine the decision on Focus on the Family’s part to spend 2.8 million dollars on this 30-second commercial when they are struggling financially, because Ms. has done an excellent job of that already. What stands out to me (in addition to those giant problems) are two things: That CBS is promoting an anti-choice agenda, and that the subtle messaging here is “don’t have an abortion because your kid might become famous.”

There is speculation that CBS is relaxing their “no issues” policy this year because the economy is in the toilet and major sponsors like GM and Pepsi have pulled their support. While this may be true, it doesn’t take a crackerjack detective to notice that CBS has rejected liberal-leaning issues-based ads (from PETA and on the grounds of said policy, yet they are willing to bend the rules for an ad with a conservative agenda. Looks like the Super Bowl is even more insidious than those beer ads would suggest (and CBS is guilty of assholery beyond just airing Two and a Half Men).

The other irksome thing here is that, without having seen the ad, I can only guess that its underlying message will be that if you choose to carry a fetus to term, even if it means you and the fetus may die, it’s worth it because your kid could grow up to be a famous athlete. Even if Ms. Tebow never says anything to that effect during the commercial, the messaging is there simply because she is appearing in a Super Bowl ad with her famous, successful son talking about how glad she is that she didn’t have an abortion.

This reminds me of that Nick Cannon song, “Can I Live?”. Does anyone remember that? Here’s the video in case you need a refresher:

With lyrics like Your friends will look at you funny but look at you mommy/ That’s a life inside you look at your tummy/ What is becoming ma I am Oprah bound/ You can tell he’s a star from the Ultrasound Mr. Mariah Carey’s message is pretty clear. Though Cannon claims to be “passing no judgment” it is obvious that he wants us to leave this video with the idea that an unplanned pregnancy could result in a guest appearance on Oprah if only the woman in question is willing to make the sacrifice.

Though Cannon’s and Tebow’s stories are different (as are the stories of all families) the messaging is similar: Make a potentially impossible sacrifice now and it might pay off later. Never mind if you are risking your health, your livelihood, or even your life, because 20 years from now you’ll be glad you did. It’s a woman’s own, very personal choice whether or not she has an abortion, and the possibility of future fame and recognition just doesn’t factor in. Women don’t need to hear about it from Tim Tebow and his mom, or from Nick Cannon, or from Focus on the Family. And they certainly don’t need to hear about it in a CBS-approved commercial during one of the most widely televised events of the year.

If you’re so inclined, complaints about this ad may be addressed to CBS Audience Services:

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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11 Comments Have Been Posted

Also, for what it's worth,

Also, for what it's worth, the guy who'll be doing the play-by-play for CBS on the game (Jim Nantz) is a close, personal friend of the Bush family. Look it up.

I won't question his mom's

I won't question his mom's decision not to abort, since it was her decision even if her life was in danger. I won't even question the Tebows' desire to make this commercial, since it is apparently an important thing to them and this is a free country. HOWEVER, I do question Focus on the Family (a supposedly non-profit group) and its decision to spend millions of dollars on a Superbowl commercial. If they got that money, why not donate it to a worthy cause? The victims in Haiti. Homeless shelters. Inner city schools. Maybe even donate it to a charity that supports impoverished single mothers, since that would make them look like they care about the moms a little. They didn't help anyone with their good fortune like they claim to want to. They spent millions on a commercial that they could have posted on YouTube for free.

Hear, hear

Or maybe they could have also considered donating to some adoption programs or to the education system. You know, actually help kids? Some of whom may be the result of unwanted pregnancy and a choice not to terminate?

A question of values

I used to think the phrase: "Right to life believers deeply care about life from the moment of conception...until the moment of birth." was just a another slap in the midst of the pro- choice/life debate. The more I see groups like FOTF and the like, the more I start to think this is a matter of fact statement.

Indeed, why use this venue for this kind of ad. Why spend money that is harder to raise for non-profits than ever to blow on 30 seconds of (in)fame(y).

To be honest I would have been almost as repulsed if Planned Parenthood had a Superbowl ad. The political environment is toxic and inescapable enough already. I actually am a football fan (not to the point of forgetting my spouses name or anything) and believe it needs to be apolitical. I didn't watch it this year because of the ad and I vow not to watch it next year either. I wrote CBS and told them it was sick and wrong and I can't wait for another network to get the Superbowl...does CBS aire anything else during the year; I don't watch it often.

This is the problem with

This is the problem with feminists. They have no sense whatsoever why people oppose abortion. Tim Tebow, a living human being, had a mother who considered having an abortion. That means that Tim Tebow must think to himself every night before he goes to bed that he might very well not be alive right now had his mother made the choice to kill him. But apparently, for the Bitch Blog that choice is one to be made lightly. Apparently ending a human life is nothing of consequence to a feminist because celebrating the freedom of choice of someone whose mother decided to actually go through with the pregnancy is more important than Tim Tebow giving his personal testimony as to why he thinks abortion is a wrong.

This is why feminism will never catch on. These types of feminists are so far out of touch with reality that it is amazing. You actually think that Tim Tebow, who knows that his mother considered having an abortion which means that he might not have had a chance to live, would support the rights of women to end the lives of other humans who were in the same exact place as he was? Why wouldn't he try to convince women that having an abortion might turn out to be a grave mistake?

The idiocy of the pro-choice crowd is amazing.

The issue here isn't about

The issue here isn't about whether or not abortion is "right" or "wrong"; it's whether or not a media outlet claiming to shy away from political issues in its Super Bowl commercials is now showing a strong political bias. Tebow (like anyone else) has the right to share his own personal experiences and opinions, but this may not be the best forum for them. If CBS has made a decision that the Super Bowl advertising shouldn't be about "issues", then they should hold to that policy in all situations. I believe (and hope) the same questions would be asked if a left-leaning group suddenly got a spot during this event.

The Issue

The real Issue here is that some people in this country want to be able to control others lives

Who are they to say who can run a ad (that is legal) when they want

Why not run your own AD ??

This is the problem with anti-choice, out of touch, men...

and women.

You're so sentimental about the process of human life being created. You think every cluster of cells is just waiting to be born. Well guess what, what if Tim Tebow's mother decided not to have sex, what if she used birth control, what if there had been a miscarriage, or what if a different sperm had reached the egg first? Tim Tebow would not exist. Think of all those potential humans that don't get the opportunity to be born! Unless you are going to feel guilty every time you use birth control, which is preventing that potential human from experiencing life, then you are going to have to realize that a fetus doesn't care if it's born or not, and if Tim Tebow had been aborted, he wouldn't know the difference. And in his place would be another human being.

And of course Tim Tebow doesn't sit awake at night thinking about how he could have been aborted. Do you ever think about the fact that if your parents had decided to have sex a few hours later you wouldn't exist? Do children who are "accidents" sit awake at night thinking about how their creation wasn't intentional? No, because everyone's creation is a lottery draw and the fact that we exist instead of someone similar to us is completely up to chance.

This just gets under my skin

I mean.. I like football, it's the one sport that I actually like to watch from time to time, but this ad just gets under my skin. First, Tim Tebow is over-rated. Second, how is he (or his mom) an expert at this topic. Therefore, why are they even talkign about this.

I can already see the complaints about this one. It's going to go down as the worst commercial of the superbowl and it will be a mood-changer for many people. Unfortunately, I'll bet it's widely talked about the next day.

Bama can't stand Tebow

It's big news in Bama that Tebow is going to be in a super bowl commercial (see, crying at the SEC championship). The joke was it was gonna be a Kleenex commercial, but I had NO idea it would be a pro-life one. I can't stand when men talk about abortion but, Tebow....that makes me nauseous.

Not so much a choice

Ms. Tebow was in the Philippines when she was pregnant, contracted dysentery, and was medically advised to have an abortion to save her life. Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, punishable by a prison sentence for a woman who intentionally has an abortion. The possibility of spending years in prison might have influenced Ms. Tebow's decision to continue what had become a high-risk pregnancy. However, the ad does not mention this. I can see two possible reasons:
1) It would make Ms. Tebow's decision seem less about 'choosing life' and more about 'avoiding prison.'
2) It would raise the issue that anti-abortion advocates in the States are very reluctant to address: if abortion is illegal, what should be the penalty for a woman who has an abortion?

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