Frances Kissling, the former president of Catholics for Choice and Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post a week before what is now known as the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad was aired.
Titled “What Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement,” they seem to believe that the leaders in the pro-life movement are just better at messaging than those who support abortion. For example:
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. . .
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.
Yes, I would agree it reinforces that view.
The editorial struck me as odd. Without any sense of irony or even acknowledging a difference in principles, they talk about the abhorrent practice of partial-birth abortion, the numbers of abortions in 1989, the advances that science has allowed in watching the development of a baby in the womb, how Americans increasingly consider themselves pro-life, and even quote an African-American football player equating Roe v. Wade with the shameful Dred Scott Decision of the Supreme Court in 1857. And Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman are for legalized abortion! Talk about a problem with marketing.
They close their editorial with this paragraph:
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.
Of course life includes difficult choices; that isn’t even an argument worth raising. This is not a marketing campaign. And I notice there are some important female voices not included in the above suggestions from Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman: the more than 500,000 baby girls who were aborted last year.
Part of the controversy, though it did not end up in the ads that I saw, was the fact that Pam Tebow chose to continue her pregnancy with Tim even though there was a risk of fetal deformity. Pam Tebow chose the better, harder path – and ended up with a Heisman Trophy-winning son.
Now, 23 years later, doctors can diagnose more accurately and at earlier stages of development many types of disabilities in the womb. Going forward, more women will know with greater certainty that the unborn child they carry has a disability. And we must still make the case that having that child is the better, harder path to take.
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