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January 27, 2010
Column #1,483
Quarterback Tebow & CBS vs. NOW
By Mike McManus

Quarterback Tim Tebow, winner of the Heisman Trophy for best college player, will appear in a Super Bowl ad with his mother, Pam, explaining why she rejected the advice of doctors to abort him.

Though no one has seen the ad yet, which is being paid for by Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Women and other pro-abortion groups are demanding that CBS not air it.

"An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year - an event designed to bring American people together," said Jehmuy Greene, president of the Women's Media Center in New York.

"By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows."

What nonsense!  CBS sells its 30-second Super Bowl ads for $2.5 million, a huge sum.  If NOW or the Women's Media Center wanted to air an ad on the other side of the issue, CBS would welcome it. "Our standards and practices process continues to adhere to a policy that ensures all ads, on all sides of an issue, are appropriate for air," said CBS.

When Pam Tebow was pregnant with Tim, she contracted amoebic dysentery during a mission trip to the Philippines, and had to take harsh antibiotics to rescue her from a coma. Her doctors told her that her child would be stillborn or unable to survive after birth and encouraged her to get an abortion.

Instead, she chose life, giving birth to a boy so healthy he became a star athlete at the University of Florida. Tim is also a deeply committed Christian who wears "John 3:16" on his eyeblack.

       He told reporters, "I know some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe.  I've always been convicted of it (his views on abortion) because that's the reason I'm here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it."

       Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, said funds for the Tebow ad were donated by a "few generous friends," and did not come from the group's general fund. He and his colleagues are "a little surprised" at the furor over the ad whose theme is "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." He adds, "There's nothing political and controversial about it."

       The idea for the ad came from a Focus employee, and the Tebows "were thrilled" when it was proposed to them, Schneeberger added. Both mother and son have been outspoken in discussing their faith.

       What is new is the acceptance of the major networks of certain types of contentious advocacy ads. In 2004, CBS cited such a policy in rejecting a proposed ad by the liberal United Church of Christ in its welcoming stance toward gays who might feel shunned by conservative churches.

       However, CBS has aired advocacy ads on both sides of the health care debate.  That is of no consolation to Terry O'Neill, president of NOW, who said she respected the private choices made by such women as Pam Tebow, but condemned the planned ad as "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning."

       "That's not being respectful of other people's lives.  It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else's."

       Her alarm sparked tart retorts by pro-life advocates such as Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, a network of 280,000 pro-life women: "NOW and company are losing their grip as their pro-abortion position sinks in public opinion.  I had no idea NOW leaders were such experts on sports," she said. "Missed that part of their mission.

       "What is real here is their desperation to keep full information from women.  Shouldn't the `pro-choice' position respect Pam Tebow's decision to choose life? What is the worst case scenario in allowing the ad to air? Women are exposed to an example of sacrifice for the sake of an unborn child. NOW needs to explain where the harm and threat to women and children is here," Dannenfelser asserted.

       For the first time ever, Gallup reports that 51 percent of Americans call themselves "pro-life" while 42 percent are "pro-choice." 

       This switch even prompted NOW's O'Neill to confess to the National Journal this year that "It seems to me that we are stalled outů"

       It's great to see the good guys gaining an upper hand!

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