The Tim Tebow Super Bowl furor is one of those teapot tempests which blow in every once in a while. The pro-lifers support the ad, which reportedly discusses his mother’s choice not to have an abortion, and the pro-choicers claim that it is an attempt to turn public opinion against abortion. CBS changed their long-standing policy against controversial ads on the Super Bowl and will now accept this advertisement from the conservative Focus on the Family. The focus of the ad is that Tim Tebow’s mom was advised, for health reasons, to abort her baby, but she declined the doctor’s advice and Tim Tebow was born. Tebow is a devout Christian as fans already know, and he has decided to put his money, well, you know where.
Public opinion is already against abortion. Who sits around thinking what a dandy thing it is, how everyone should have one, and how great a job it is? Let’s be rational. It’s not abortion that needs PR, any more than cancer needs a defending spokesperson. The reasons women have abortions are varied, and for many it is not an easy choice. What pro-choice activists should be promoting is abortion rights. If the public does not perceive they are doing that, then they are failing at their mission.
It would be disingenuous of me to write an article that confronts the issue of abortion without clearly identifying my side of the fence. That’s a problem. I have never been one to fence-sit (in my misguided imagination I always imagine sitting on a picket fence. Ouch!). I have very strongly held feelings and opinions about the issue of abortion rights. I believe that women should have the right to have an abortion if she so desires. I believe that for whatever reason a woman might seek an abortion, it’s none of my business. I believe I would never have an abortion. Lucky for me, I’ll never have to make that decision. I can’t choose between pro-life and pro-choice because neither is right for me.
Let’s say I’m pregnant (just don’t say it to my husband, he’d have a stroke. Or he’d call “The National Enquirer.”). Okay, I’m pregnant and, to put it nicely, it’s an unwanted pregnancy. I understand that pro-lifers interpret that as an unwanted child, but bear with me, this is hypothetical. What are my options? I could have an abortion, I could give birth and give the child up for adoption, or I could give birth and keep the baby. Unfortunately in our society, some women choose a fourth option: give birth then throw the baby in a dumpster and hope never to be caught. Pro-choice should mean pro-options. A woman should be aware of all the options and be allowed to make the choice that’s right for her.
With whom do I align myself? The pro-life people certainly don’t want me; I defend a woman’s right to abortion. The pro-choice people don’t want me, I defend a woman’s right to choose. That leaves me with my own side of the fence, pro-life-choice. There are a lot of people here with me; we don’t like abortion, we think we know how we would choose, but we refuse to choose for someone else. It is no more our affair why a woman has an abortion than it is why she would have a baby. If we’re going to be judges, give us black robes and paychecks. We prefer to tend our own gardens; that’s our choice.
Accusing CBS of sexism because the ad was accepted is like accusing CBS or any other network of promoting obesity, alcoholism, and promiscuity based on the commercials they show. We know that many things went into the decision to change policy, and one of them might have been the two-and-a-half million dollars that comes from the advertiser. That’s CBS’s job—to make money. We may not like all of their shows (or any of them!), but they are in business to make money and they don’t need our approbation. If someone is so terribly offended by the ad, they can boycott the Super Bowl or CBS; don’t tell me what I can or cannot see. Isn’t attempting to limit free speech and a reasonable exchange of ideas the equivalent of attempting to limit the rights women have over their bodies?
As for Tim Tebow and his mother, good for them. I admire them both for their bravery. She was willing to take serious risks for what she believes in. He follows in her footsteps. It’s not always easy to so openly support religious and moral convictions. But just as his mother chose for herself, Tebow is choosing what’s right for him. And CBS is choosing what’s right for CBS.