Tim Tebow, the years best college football player, is starring in a mildly pro-life advertisement”Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life, it concludes”scheduled to air during the Super Bowl this Sunday. And the ruckus over that fact has been one of the strangest things to watch in years.
Even the New York Times has agreed ”in an unsigned editorial no less”that the objections to the ad are unwarranted:
The would-be censors are on the wrong track. Instead of trying to silence an opponent, advocates for allowing women to make their own decisions about whether to have a child should be using the Super Bowl spotlight to convey what their movement is all about: protecting the right of women like Pam Tebow to make their private reproductive choices.
Curiously, perhaps the most thoughtful treatment of the topic appeared in the sports pages of the Washington Post , where sports columnist Sally Jenkins takes a baseball bat and whacks around the old-line feminist organizations whove attacked the ad. Jenkins herself, she says, is no supporter of the pro-life cause, but shes irritated that the ostensible defenders of choice are determined to tell her what to think:
Tebows 30-second ad hasnt even run yet, but it already has provoked The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us to reveal something important about themselves: They arent actually pro-choice so much as they are pro-abortion. Pam Tebow has a genuine pro-choice story to tell. She got pregnant in 1987, post- Roe v. Wade , and while on a Christian mission in the Philippines, she contracted a tropical ailment. Doctors advised her the pregnancy could be dangerous, but she exercised her freedom of choice and now, 20-some years later, the outcome of that choice is her beauteous Heisman Trophy winner son, a chaste, proselytizing evangelical.
NOW and NARAL purportedly protect women from those who would tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies”and all along, these organizations tell those women what thoughts they can and cannot consider. Talk about invasive. No wonder Jenkins balks:
Tebow himself is an inescapable fact: Abortion doesnt just involve serious issues of life, but of potential lives, Heisman trophy winners, scientists, doctors, artists, inventors, Little Leaguers”who would never come to be if their birth mothers had not wrestled with the stakes and chosen to carry those lives to term. And their stories are every bit as real and valid as the stories preferred by NOW . . . . If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.
Meghan Duke is a junior fellow at First Things .