Following are excerpts from a pretty remarkable op ed in the Washington Post on January 31 by Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice, and Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL.
Next Sunday, when millions of people tune in to watch Super Bowl XLIV, they'll see a football star off the field, too. Tim Tebow, the University of FL's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, is set to appear with his mother in a 30-second advertisement to be aired during the game....
The spot, which has not been released, features Tebow, by all reports a humble young man who takes his faith seriously, and his mother telling the story of her decision 23 years ago to ignore medical advice and continue a risky pregnancy. Pam Tebow had contracted amoebic dysentery, and her doctors feared that the medicine used to treat her illness might cause fetal deformity. The healthy and very successful Tim proved them wrong.
Pro-choice advocates were shocked when CBS appeared to violate internal policy and accepted this spot - reportedly at a price of at least $2.5 million - produced and paid for by Focus on the Family, a conservative antiabortion, anti-gay group....
For abortion rights supporters, picking on Tim Tebow and his mom is not the way to go. Instead of trying to block or criticize the Focus on the Family ad, the pro-choice movement needs its own Super Bowl strategy. People want to be inspired, and abortion is as tough and courageous a decision as is the decision to continue a pregnancy. But the conversation is being led by Focus on the Family and its quarterback ambassador. It's a high-profile example of the savvy way the antiabortion movement has tailored its message....
All Tim Tebow wants to do next Sunday, we are told, is let the world know that he's glad his mother had him and that he hopes other women make the same choice. Pam Tebow was indeed courageous and had the legal right to choose, a point the pro-choice movement can readily make in response to the ad.
Those opposed to legal abortions have learned a lot about reaching out to the many Americans who can't make up their minds about the issue. Many of these people don't want abortion to be illegal but believe that too many such procedures take place in this country. Conservative groups, such as Focus on the Family, have gotten that message. They know to save the fire and brimstone for their hardcore base; for Super Bowl Sunday, you appeal to people's hearts with a smiling baby -- or Tim Tebow and his mom. Presenting Americans with a challenge of personal sacrifice, especially if the person who has to sacrifice is a woman, is a convincing sell.
Women's and choice groups responding to the Tebow ad should take a page from the Focus on the Family playbook. Erin Matson, the National Organization for Women's new vice president, called the Tebow spot "hate masquerading as love." That kind of comment may play well in the choice choir, but to others, it makes no sense, at best; at worst, it's seen as the kind of stridency that reinforces the view that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion.
We have seen a dramatic shift in attitudes toward "pro-life" and "pro-choice." In 1995 Gallup asked respondents for the first time whether they considered themselves "to be pro-choice or pro-life." Only 33% took on the pro-life label. In 2009, 51% considered themselves pro-life, and pro-choice had dropped from a high of 56% to 44%.
Neither movement can take full credit or blame for the change. Science played a big role, making the fetus more visible. Today, the first picture in most baby books is the 12-week 3D ultrasound, and Grandma and Grandpa have that photo posted on the fridge. We read about successful fetal surgery; we don't read about women dying in pools of blood on their bathroom floors after botched abortions, as we did when the procedure was illegal.
Congress has also weighed in. The "partial birth" abortion ban was introduced in 1995, shifting attention from the choice movement's effective "who decides" message - which became the key question after the Supreme Court's 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services decision - to what the Catholic bishops had always wanted America to ask: "What is being decided?" From that point forward, abortions in the second half of pregnancy and graphic descriptions of how they are performed dominated coverage of the issue.
Such influences notwithstanding, there is no doubt that some segments of the antiabortion movement were more nimble and consistent in reaching out to the uncommitted than the choice advocates were. In the spring of 1992, the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation began a multimillion-dollar ad campaign with a "do the right thing" message - similar to that in the Tebow spot. For 5 years, its "Life, What a Beautiful Choice" ads saturated media markets where public opinion on abortion was deeply divided.
NARAL Pro-Choice America followed with its "Choice for America" campaign, using symbols of freedom such as the US flag to frame choice as a quintessential American value. "What's life without choice?" the ads asked. Tracking polls in the states where the spots aired showed an increase in identification with abortion rights, but donor support lagged, and the ads ended up on the shelf.
On the other side, though, the innovation continued. Groups such as Feminists for Life started out relatively small but invested heavily in reaching out to college students, talking not about making abortion illegal but about helping college women keep their babies. Their pro-life message wasn't exclusively anti-abortion; it was anti-capital-punishment, antiwar, for saving the whales, for not eating meat and for supporting mothers. It wasn't the mainstream of the antiabortion movement, but it had its appeal.
Today, all sorts of well-educated and progressive people are comfortable calling themselves pro-life. In the public eye, the term seems to encompass a broader and more moderate vision, not focused solely on what it opposes. That vision has suffered the occasional blow: Most recently, a man on the antiabortion fringe was convicted Friday of the murder, at a KS church, of George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions. But the Scott Roeders of the world are not adding to the movement's base. The Super Bowl approach is doing that.
So here's our Super Bowl strategy for the choice movement. We'd go with a 30-second spot, too. The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice: having a baby and giving it up for adoption, having an abortion, having a baby and raising it lovingly. Each one being clear that making choices isn't easy, but that life without tough choices doesn't exist.
The problem with their philosophy here is that abortion is not a "courageous choice." It doesn't take courage to selfishly kill a tiny defenseless human being who can utter no protest.
The only courageous choice is life.Posted by: Jennifer at February 1, 2010 10:13 AM
A pro-life advocate could not have written an awful piece like that. It is loaded with abortionist doublespeak and fallacies (I counted 39 separate fallacies in the column).
They are talking about destroying the life of a human being and they act as though it is no big deal.
There is an extreme disconnect between their rhetoric and reality. At no time do they indicate that they realize that they were talking about the possible killing of someone such as the "healthy and very successful Tim".
The abortionists are completely clueless and irrational. They go on their merry way spouting drivel and doublespeak about "choice" and "choose" while leaving in their wake the worst humanitarian catastrophe in human history.
Their idea about having women appear in a "pro-choice" ad is pathetic. As I wrote in my letter to the editor in response to this column:
"I highly doubt that they plan to point out that they would have allowed every one of those women to be killed in the unborn stage".Posted by: Joe at February 1, 2010 10:37 AM
Here is a brief over view of Pam Tebows experience.
Pam and Bob Tebow were serving as missionaries in the Philippines when Pam became very ill.
Somehow, she contracted amoebic dysentery which caused her to fall into a coma. As she was being treating with strong antibiotics, doctors discovered that she was pregnant. They urged her to abort the baby, explaining the medicines had caused irreversible damage. She refused the abortion.
The doctors “didn’t think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue,” Pam said. While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband, ”If you will give us a son, we’ll name him ‘Timothy,’ and we’ll make him a preacher.” Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and, eventually, gave birth to a health baby boy August 14, 1987. And her baby boy has indeed become a preacher – in prisons, in hospitals, and around the globe. But he also plays football.
Not only did Pam NOT 'choice' her child, she made a covenant with
to name her child Timothy
and [shudder all you progressive liberal humanists and pagans]
to train hm to be a 'preacher'.
[And all the pagans and humanists alike shouted in unison, "satan save us!]
Wait Pam's husband and Tim's father, Bob, has his side of the story to tell:
The man on the other end of the line is calling from the Philippines. He has taken time from his missionary work to reply to a reporter's e-mailed questions. Now Bob Tebow has a question of his own: "Have you heard the story of Timmy's birth?"
"Even if you have, it's worth hearing from the mouth of his father: "When I was out in the mountains in Mindanao, back in '86, I was showing a film and preaching that night. I was weeping over the millions of babies being [aborted] in America, and I prayed, 'God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher.'" Not long after, Bob and Pam Tebow conceived their fifth child. It was a very difficult pregnancy. "The placenta was never properly attached, and there was bleeding from the get-go," Bob recalls. "We thought we'd lost him several times." Early in the pregnancy Pam contracted amebic dysentery, which briefly put her in a coma. Her doctors, fearful that medications they had given her had damaged the fetus, advised her to abort it. She refused, and on Aug. 14, 1987, Pam delivered a healthy if somewhat scrawny Timothy Richard Tebow."
"All his life, from the moment he could understand, I told him, 'You're a miracle baby,'" Bob recalls. "'God's got a purpose for you, and at some point I think He's going to call you to preach.'
"I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback."
"The Tebows moved from the Philippines to Florida when Tim was three. He grew up country strong, doing chores on the family's 44-acre spread outside Jacksonville. All five of the Tebow children were homeschooled by Pam, the daughter of an Army colonel. To meet Pam is to understand where Tim gets much of his mental toughness. Pam emphasized selflessness and compassion—lessons underscored during the kids' annual summer visits to the Philippines, where they worked in their father's ministry. Founded in 1985, the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association boasts a staff of 45 Filipino pastors who have preached the Gospel to more than 15 million. The ministry has also helped start 10,000 churches and opened an orphanage that houses more than 50 children."
"On July 21, in fact, Tebow and Williams planned to head to the Florida State Prison in aptly named Starke. There, Tebow hoped to be allowed to speak to the 30 or so prisoners awaiting execution. The more incorrigible the inmate, the more Tebow relishes the chance to save him. "Sometimes it's those guys at rock bottom who are the ones looking for a change," he explains. If Lawtey was an early-season nonconference opponent for Tebow, death row was akin to Death Valley, as LSU's Tiger Stadium is known."
"This is in keeping with his father's disregard for danger in his quest to serve. Bob Tebow regularly takes his message to islands where he is not necessarily welcome. "I quit [reading] the State Department's advisories a long time ago," says the man who joked that he asked the Lord for a preacher and got a quarterback. The truth is, he got both."
Now, if you have just a little bit of discernment you will understand why the seed of the serpent is so apoplectic about the seed of the woman, particulary this woman and particularly this seed.
Pray for the Tebows this little skirmish is going to get nasty.
yor bro ken
Posted by: kbhvac
at February 1, 2010 10:38 AM
Jennifer said, "[A]bortion is not a 'courageous choice.'"
I would respectfully disagree. I'm sure that getting an abortion requires much courage, though not as much courage as becoming a suicide bomber. Courage is not the highest virtue, though. Isn't courage often put to the use of vice? Satan has the courage (now maybe only desperation) to defy God. Read Psalm 2, for an example. I conclude that getting an abortion may be courageous, but it is certainly also foolish. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.Posted by: Jon at February 1, 2010 10:44 AM
What Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement
By Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman
Sunday, January 31, 2010
"So here's our Super Bowl strategy for the choice movement. We'd go with a 30-second spot, too. The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice:
having a baby and giving it up for adoption,
having an abortion,
having a baby and raising it lovingly.
Each one being clear that making choices isn't easy, but that life without tough choices doesn't exist."
mss Kissling and Michelman,
In the second of the three proposed 'choices', what became of the baby?
Are you so blinded by your chauvinism that you would attempt to equate the three outcomes?
And you need to have at least one more woman on whom the camera focuses.
The post abortent mother who has lost one or both breasts and has been emaciated by the chemo therapy, lying in her lovely pink upholstered coffin.
You could follow Joy Behar's lead and produce a 30 second spot with picture of Stanley Ann Dunnham and a voice over saying:
"My son could have just as easily turned out to be a bummbling buffoon like Jimmy Carter, but I made my 'CHOICE' to birth the boy anyway."
Then fade in a picture of Dunnham's son.
Barack Hussein Obama
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at February 1, 2010 10:53 AM
giving it up for adoption,
Bad language there... making an adoption plan. You do not give up for adoption or keep the baby. You give away things you do not value but keep things you do value.
We must change the language.......
go to www.decisionschoicesandoptions.org and see positive adoption language. How awful that our words no matter how unintended could dissuade someone from making a courageous choice.
Here is a link to a miracle that ocurred on the most recent anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Little Jaquan Jordon was born having been rescued from the jaws of death at a preborn baby killing center in my neck of the woods.
I'll forward it to your news inbox also in case you might want to feature what I believe is a great inspirational story as we get ready to kick off the spring 40 Days for Life campaign.
This is why we fight.Posted by: Ed at February 1, 2010 11:08 AM
(rushing to get back to work)Posted by: Ed at February 1, 2010 11:14 AM
Respectfully, I couldn't disagree with you more. It was not courage that allowed Satan to defy God, but arrogance and pride. The suicide bomber is not exercising courage, but instead is delusional, hateful, vengeful, and again, arrogant.
Courage is the strength to face difficulty without fear, the commitment of conviction; it is bravery in the face of a challenge. It is choosing the right thing even when it is hard, even when it requires sacrifice.
Abortion is never courageous. How is it courageous to kill a "foe" who is defenseless and silent?Posted by: Jennifer at February 1, 2010 11:15 AM
I needed that. Sometimes it is hard to keep at it!
Fighting on, brother.Posted by: carla at February 1, 2010 11:15 AM
Joe, the terminology might have been pro-abortion, yes, but the points made on scientific advances and pro-life savviness, etc., were what I was talking about. They conceded a lot in that piece.Posted by: Jill Stanek at February 1, 2010 11:19 AM
Abortion is a decision based on fear; fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of financial hardships. It is not a couragerous "choice".
Raising a child is a faithful choice.
Beleiving in the life of your child despite difficult circonstances, that is COURAGE! Adoption is a courageous, selfless choice.Posted by: Chantal at February 1, 2010 11:24 AM
The "partial birth" abortion ban was introduced in 1995, shifting attention from the choice movement's effective "who decides" message - which became the key question after the Supreme Court's 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services decision - to what the Catholic bishops had always wanted America to ask: "What is being decided?"
This is what really gives the piece away as written by pro-aborts: the dogged insistance that anyone who opposes stabbing babies in the skull as they come out of the birth canal must be a Catholic bishop. Even while admitting that SCIENCE has swayed many people, they just can't let go of their fairy tale that it's all about religion.Posted by: Kelsey at February 1, 2010 11:53 AM
God bless you Carla!!!
His Mercies are new every morning!
(I know because I desperately need them every morning.)
Here is another inspiring piece written by a Mom that, unfortunately, arrived for her abortion on a day 40 Days wasn't there.
May Our Precious Lord and Savior continue to gird you with His strength, as you continue your labor of love for the living victims of this atrocity plaguing our land.Posted by: Ed at February 1, 2010 11:53 AM
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Clarendon Press, 1964) says that courage is "bravery, boldness." Based on this definition, I tend to think that suicide bombers and child-killing mothers have a certain amount of courage. I'm certainly scared of blowing myself up, and I'm also scared of surgeons.
It is cowardly to "kill a 'foe' who is defenseless and silent," but it is perhaps courageous to allow an abortionist to kill your child if you have the mistaken belief that you are the god of your child. You go ahead with a difficult decision, believing that it is the best for all concerned (especially you, ignobly but still courageously).
There is a God, however, and He says not to kill a human being, and a mother is much more courageous to trust Him for the future and deliver a child. She's lost faith in the earthly father but still trusts the heavenly Father.
So why am I trying to defend pro-aborts? I should keep courage in perspective! You're right. As Chantal said, adoption is the courageous, selfless choice (by a loving husband and wife).Posted by: Jon at February 1, 2010 11:58 AM
Listen, I have no problem with this (proposed) ad. So run it already. I'll just exercise my constitutional right to the channel changer.Posted by: Phillymiss at February 1, 2010 12:09 PM
I could have written so many parts of that letter. Do you know her? How can I reach her? I too wanted the "praying crazies" out in front of the abortion clinic that day.
I believe courage to be bravery in the face of difficult circumstances. Courage means to the hard thing. To do the right thing.
I was not at all courageous on the day of my abortion. I was scared and humiliated and alone and wanted to cry but didn't.
I am feeling courageous now, but only with God's help. I don't care if I am the only prolifer in the whole wide world I will continue to say that abortion hurts women and I regret mine.Posted by: carla at February 1, 2010 12:24 PM
I don't know her Carla but I think I might know someone who does.
I'll check and get back to you.Posted by: Ed at February 1, 2010 12:32 PM
Carla, you are one awesome woman! I so admire your witness and courage. Your voice is desperately needed because of your experience. I thank God for you and other women like you. Keep the faith!Posted by: Nerina at February 1, 2010 1:14 PM
"giving it up for adoption,"
"Bad language there... making an adoption plan. You do not give up for adoption or keep the baby. You give away things you do not value but keep things you do value."
"We must change the language....... "
"go to www.decisionschoicesandoptions.org and see positive adoption language. How awful that our words no matter how unintended could dissuade someone from making a courageous choice."
Posted by: Maria at February 1, 2010 11:05 AM
I agree that language choice is critical to the pro-life argument.
Your point about the language of adoption is a very good one!
"Making an adoption plan" is an active, positive response to an unexpected pregnancy which is truly empowering vs. "aborting the baby".
"Science played a big role, making the fetus more visible. Today, the first picture in most baby books is the 12-week 3D ultrasound, and Grandma and Grandpa have that photo posted on the fridge. We read about successful fetal surgery; we don't read about women dying in pools of blood on their bathroom floors after botched abortions, as we did when the procedure was illegal."
And this is how we're gonna win it. Science is on our side, ladies and gents.Posted by: xalisae at February 1, 2010 2:45 PM
Thank you so much!
God bless you!
I do like that they admit that we have science on our side.Posted by: Christina at February 1, 2010 3:55 PM
Perhaps suicide bombers and mothers who abort are more afraid of something other than the action they take. I'm inclined to say that fear is the ultimate motivator in the case of abortion. I wouldn't call this a courageous act. It's taking the apparent path of least resistance.
The way I see it, the mother who chooses abortion sees the possibility of life with a baby vs. the somewhat intimidating idea of the abortion mill and decides that the temporary inconvenience of the abortion is a 'better' option than the minimum 9-month commitment that is life.
Unfortunately for those mothers, abortion comes with many unadvertised consequences that tend to be lifelong.
It's easy and understandable to be persuaded on occasion by the Enemy's lies, but they do come at a high cost.Posted by: maryrose at February 1, 2010 4:48 PM
I agree with Jill when she says that "much of their op-ed could have been written by a pro-lifer", but their last paragraph, boggles my mind.
"So here's our Super Bowl strategy for the choice movement. We'd go with a 30-second spot, too. The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice: having a baby and giving it up for adoption, having an abortion, having a baby and raising it lovingly. Each one being clear that making choices isn't easy, but that life without tough choices doesn't exist."
I thought they were joking at first, but I think Kissling and Michelman are serious.Posted by: Janet at February 1, 2010 6:49 PM
Can I be cast as the woman who had an abortion? I could totally and calmly look into the camera and describe it all to them. It was totally successful as far as abortions go...one dead, one wounded.Posted by: carla at February 1, 2010 8:33 PM
You are absolutely right. I had not thought about it at first.
The contrast between their admitting that science is winning it for us and their crowing about their intellectually empty and simple minded "successful" campaigns:
"who decides?" and "choice" as an American value, could not be more stunning.Posted by: Joe at February 1, 2010 9:00 PM
You're right, Maryrose. Good point. I now completely withdraw my argument!Posted by: Jon at February 1, 2010 10:30 PM
". . .we don't read about women dying in pools of blood on their bathroom floors after botched abortions, as we did when the procedure was illegal."
But tiny, defenseless children lying in pools of blood on an operating table is perfectly fine. Apparently.Posted by: Sarah at February 2, 2010 3:12 PM
Can I be cast as the woman who had an abortion? I could totally and calmly look into the camera and describe it all to them. It was totally successful as far as abortions go...one dead, one wounded.
Posted by: carla at February 1, 2010 8:33 PM
God bless you, Carla. Yes, you could pretend to go along with their "everything is peachy post-abortion script" but then hit 'em with the sad, undeniable truth. I guarantee that hearts would be changed. ONE heart at a time is all it takes!
Thank you for your brave witness for LIFE!Posted by: Janet at February 2, 2010 11:30 PM
We DO read about women who died from illegal abortions, and we have for years. It's the number of women who have died this way that is often not quoted correctly. Anyone remember that doctor (who still supports abortion rights last I heard) who said he and his colleagues made up a number of illegal abortion deaths that was much higher than reality?
P.S. How often do we read about women dying from LEGAL abortions? I know we do here and there, but possibly not as often as they actually happen.