Life: A 'Dangerous' ChoiceCOLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL
Super Bowl Sunday epitomizes everything radical feminists once loved to loathe: violent aggression celebrated as spectator sport, male-only competition that relegates women to scantily-clad supporting roles on the sidelines, and boorish commercials using women as high-paid props to sell men beer.
All that changed last month, when news leaked that CBS had agreed to air a pro-life ad during the big game. Suddenly, figureheads of the feminist establishment began lining up to defend the sanctity of the NFL's high holy day against the corrupting influence of a commercial with the theme, "Celebrate family, celebrate life."
An ad with such a divisive message "has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year—an event designed to bring Americans together," said Women's Media Center president Jehmu Greene, who blasted the spot as part of "an un-American agenda." The center announced that it was joining forces with "organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice" to combat this scourge to the Super Bowl's pristine reputation (wardrobe malfunctions notwithstanding).
The self-professed defenders of freedom and tolerance who called on CBS to censor the spot included leaders of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. Foundation and National Organization for Women. NOW president Terry O'Neill denounced the ad as "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning." Erin Matson, NOW's action vice president, called it "hate masquerading as love." A letter sent to CBS from these groups warned that the commercial "endangers women's health."
So what is the content of this sinister and insulting spot? None of its critics knows for sure, since it has yet to air. But it reportedly features the mother of a celebrated football star discussing her decision to choose life for him despite a difficult pregnancy in which doctors had recommended abortion.
After falling ill during a mission trip to the Philippines when she did not yet know she was pregnant with her fifth child, Pam Tebow had taken medication that was believed to have caused severe disabilities in her unborn child and rendered her pregnancy life threatening. She refused an abortion and wound up delivering a healthy baby boy. That boy grew up to be Tim Tebow, a Heisman trophy-winning quarterback at the University of Florida, part-time Christian missionary and poster boy for sexual restraint beloved as much for his integrity off the field as his gridiron exploits.
Such a heartwarming story, brought to the screen by Focus on the Family, might strike some as fairly tame fare compared to the caveman-humor ads and striptease halftime shows that characterize the Super Bowl these days. Yet the mere fact that the ad highlights a woman's choice to preserve the life of her unborn child is enough to make it obscene in the eyes of pro-abortion—ahem, pro-choice—activists.
"That's not being respectful of other people's lives," said NOW's O'Neill, of the ad's focus on Tebow's life-affirming decision. "It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else's."
Actually, it's human nature to make such moral distinctions, and to admire the sacrificial love of a parent who puts her child's welfare before her own. Perhaps that's why the ad's storyline, gentle as it is, frightens the abortion lobby so much. Life does deserve celebration—and defense. And America is a poorer place for the millions of unknown Tim Tebows we have lost to abortion.
Abortion-rights activists are free to make their own case and their own commercial. Yet they are increasingly obsessed with silencing debate altogether, apparently fearful that the more we reflect on the life-and-death choice that abortion entails, the more squeamish we will feel about laws that treat abortion as the moral equivalent of a tonsillectomy.
The panic over Tebow's story doesn't say much for the abortion lobby's confidence in its own arguments. When it comes to the future of abortion-centric feminism, groups like NOW have a lot more to worry about than a 30-second Super Bowl spot.
Colleen Carroll Campbell. "Life: A 'Dangerous' Choice." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (February 5, 2010).
Reprinted with permission of the author, Colleen Carroll Campbell.
Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, television and radio host and St. Louis-based fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is the author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy. Colleen Carroll Campbell writes for a wide variety of national publications, speaks to audiences across America, and hosts her own television show, "Faith & Culture," on EWTN, the world's largest religious media network. Her website is here.
Copyright © 2010 Colleen Carroll Campbell
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