What's Really Behind the Tebow Super Bowl Ad Controversy

The most striking aspect of the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad controversy is that critics of CBS’s decision to run the commercial seem unable to decide exactly why they are so offended.

Some are upset that the ad was sponsored by Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, scourge of cultural liberals. Others are calling it a breach of the so-called separation of politics and Super Bowl. NOW condemned the as-yet-unseen ad as “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning” and “hate masquerading as love.” The Feminist Majority Foundation launched a campaign to get the “anti-choice super bowl ad removed.”

But if the 30-second ad were really as distasteful as the liberal activist groups are making it out to be, it never would have made it past CBS’s Sales Department.

The real reason for their outrage is exactly the opposite: that the commercial is so inoffensive and, in fact, so inspiring that they worry it might actually win hearts and minds for the idea that all human life is sacred.

In the ad, Tebow and his mom, Pam, tell the story of his birth. While pregnant with Tim and in the Philippines doing missionary work, Pam became ill. A physician encouraged her to abort or risk dying or delivering a baby with a disability. Instead, Pam chose to trust God and bring her baby to term.

Calling the ad “anti-choice” merely reinforces that the only “reproductive choices” that please abortion advocates are those that end with a trip to Planned Parenthood. Even abortion leaders Kate Michelman and Frances Kissling conceded in the Washington Post this week, that the idea that the Tebow ad is “hate masquerading as love” is “the kind of stridency that reinforces the view that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion.”

The Left’s intolerance for women who exercise their freedom to choose life is pervasive. Under the government-run option in the Democrats’ health bills, women who want abortions would be covered at taxpayers’ expense, while married women with children would be hit with stiffer tax penalties.

That Pam chose her unborn son’s life over her own wellbeing was offensive enough for the abortion Left. That she chose life for a child who might have been born with developmental disabilities was beyond the pale. Some commentators condemned Pam’s choice as irresponsible because it might influence other pregnant women to follow her example.

The Left’s reaction to the Tebows’ story is reminiscent of the viciousness that met Sarah Palin’s decision to bring to term a child she knew had Down syndrome. Like Tebow, Palin was told by a doctor to consider abortion. And like Tebow, Palin gave birth trusting in God’s providence. 

Sadly, many mothers who are told that their unborn child might be born with a disability choose abortion. Studies have shown an abortion rate of up to 90 percent for babies with Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and other genetic conditions. 

What’s more, studies show that parents informed that their unborn child will have a disability are often given only the negative stories of the life ahead.

Dr. Brian Skotko, a physician at Children’s Hospital Boston, conducted a study in which he interviewed mothers who had received a definitive prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. He found that most were not told about “the positive potential of people with Down syndrome, nor did they feel like they received enough up-to-date information or contact information for parent support groups.”

Other studies have found that many pregnant women feel pressured to undergo invasive prenatal testing and to abort if results are positive for a severe disability.

In the back of the minds of those attacking the Tebow ad must be the realization that an abortion ad could never inspire in the same way they fear this pro-life ad will.

Any story involving an abortion by definition ends with a human life snuffed out. Thus abortion necessarily involves tragedy and heartbreak. 

The grim reality of abortion explains why pro-abortion politicians rarely utter the word “abortion,” preferring instead to camouflage their conversations.

 Abortion conjures images of a dead baby. That’s why NARAL, which used to stand for the National Abortion Rights Action League, changed its name in 2003. Its new name is NARAL Pro-Choice America. The acronym no longer stands for anything.

Though the abortion movement has finally attained sympathetic majorities in all three branches of the federal government, it has lost ground in the most important ways.

It has seen a dramatic shift in the share of Americans who consider themselves pro-life, a rapid and steep decline in the number of medical students willing to train in and perform abortions, and in the number of women seeking abortions.

Desperate and angry at precisely the time they assumed they’d be jogging a victory lap, enraged abortion activists are getting bolder in their attacks on pro-lifers.

It’s not just their silly hostility toward Tebow. As more and more doctors exercise their freedom not to perform abortions, Democrats are advancing laws that require medical professionals to participate in abortions.

The Baltimore City Council recently passed an ordinance that forces local pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs that state that they do not perform abortions, or face large fines. And in Connecticut the governor recently signed a bill that prohibits doctors from performing an ultrasound on an unborn child unless there is a medical necessity, most inappropriate at a time in which the first pictures in most baby books are ultrasound images.

In fact, pro-abortion politicians routinely vote against laws giving women the option to view an ultrasound. They know that pictures of the child in utero have been an invaluable tool for the pro-life cause, revealing the unborn child as a living person.

Abortion activists’ flailing attempts to block such images expose a movement that’s hemorrhaging support because it has come to epitomize the very intolerance and coercion it claims to oppose. And whether it is photos from an ultrasound or of the Tebow family, a picture is worth a thousand words.