This Sunday is one of the biggest days for advertisers. It’s Superbowl Sunday and people pay attention to the ads – sometimes more than the game itself.
One of the ads that will be shown is from the conservative group Focus on the Family. Their $2.5 million will buy them 30-seconds to tell the story of Pam Tebow and her son, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow from the Florida Gators. The tag line of the ad is “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life”, with the word abortion never being mentioned.
But whose version of Family are we celebrating with this ad?
The details have been told numerous times over the last month, but in summary, Pam was a missionary in the Philippines, pregnant with her son. She fell ill and was given the option by doctors to either continue with the pregnancy or abort it. Her choice is obvious and the focus on having a successful son in sports is celebrated.
Never mind that since 1930, abortion has been illegal in the Philippines and remains that way to current day. So in 1987, when Pam was pregnant with Tim, her doctor was recommending something illegal to her, according to her telling of the events as they played out. Also factoring into the decision was her belief system, which is obviously pro-life. So under logical thinking, Pam’s decision to both follow her beliefs and not break the law of the country she was in at the time, resulted in the birth of her son.
The birth of a child is to be celebrated, especially if it was planned. But not all pregnancies are planned. And the woman who becomes pregnant should be allowed the option of terminating her pregnancy, taking into consideration the legal status of abortion where she resides. But I’m not here to advocate abortion. Personally, I think it’s an option that I wish most women would not choose. I am not going to force my personal opinion on others. And neither should anyone else. That means no government, no religious person, no conservative organization, no right-wing radical or anyone that is passionate about their stance on abortion should take away the decision to abort a child away from any woman for any reason.
This makes me pro-choice, which some have re-labeled that to mean “pro-abortion”. Um. Read the above again if you are one of these people. Being pro-choice does not make someone pro-abortion. Neither should I, or anyone else that is pro-choice, be labeled a “baby killer”. The rules are simple. A woman makes her own reproductive decisions without involvement or interruption from anyone, with the exception of her doctor she is consulting with.
And being pro-choice shouldn’t be just some political stance or something that makes you feel better about yourself or a way to fit in better. If you are pro-choice, you need to really let the woman choose for herself, regardless of how you personally feel about the practice.
But when media people like Sally Jenkins from the Washington Post say they are pro-choice, labeling a group of people pro-abortion pretty much dilutes their announced stance. I really don’t believe there is anyone out there that is pro-abortion. Even women that choose abortion as an option are not skipping happily to the abortion clinic, smiles on their faces and exclaiming, “Yeah, I get to have an abortion today.” Abortion is a tough choice and it’s an emotional disconnect. Having talked to women that have had abortions before, it is a decision that was not easy for them to make.
No, these groups are more about not wanting the majority rule – regardless how specific or generic the message – to dominate the discussion of choice. Sure, Pam had a choice. She choose to have the baby. But at the same time, what was her decision doesn’t apply to every one else. This is called supporting the woman’s right to choose for herself.
Mad about the Ad?
So given all of that, CBS certainly should be allowed to pick and choose what ads they want shown on Superbowl Sunday. They are in the business to make money. But they also should be under scrutiny when they allow one ad based on content, yet reject an ad based on similar content rules they recently lifted. As a for-profit business, playing favorites while proclaiming they are not, will open up discussions on fairness in advertising. Allowing an ad promoting a general pro-life message, yet rejecting a gay dating service, at the same time airing ads with beer and boobs, their argument about “not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday” starts to lose credibility.
After everything I’ve said above, I’m ok with the ad being broadcast, but I do question several things. One, are women that watch the game and viewing the ad going to consider its message the next time they have sexual relations? Two, will this spur other companies to consider next year’s big game for placing their 30-second conservative message to the masses? And three, will CBS actually consider running other ads from the likes of gay dating services without using their standard “network broadcast standards” rejection message?
Only time will tell. For this pro-choice viewer, in the midst of the majority rule, I’ll be placing all of my bets on the underdog minority. Go Saints!
Here’s the Mancrunch ad that won’t air during the Superbowl: