Like everyone else, we at the Perpetual Post mused about the infamous ‘Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad’ before it aired. It’s since been revealed to be pretty anticlimactic, but our musings were interesting anyway. Read Jeff Morrow’s side here.
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The already-infamous ‘Tim Tebow Anti-Abortion’ Superbowl ad hasn’t even aired yet, but it’s already stirred up plenty of controversy.
The ad purportedly involves Tebow’s mother telling the story of how she became ill while she was pregnant with him and was urged by doctors to have an abortion for her own safety. As the legend goes, she chose not to listen to their recommendations, and gave birth to a baby who grew up to be named Florida’s Mr. Football, which is every mother’s dream.
The subtext of this ad demonstrates a relatively new approach for the anti-abortion set, and I have to say I’m impressed. Their normal tactics are usually about as subtle as a slap in the uterus. But the premise of this Mother Tebow ad appears to dig a little deeper, at least on the surface. Its view is a bit more nuanced; more thoughtful. It shows the consequences of an enormous and difficult life decision, and demonstrates one situation in which a woman’s choice to go through with a pregnancy results in a positive outcome. At least, if your definition of a positive outcome involves the existence of Tim Tebow. I’m on the fence there.
It should be noted that Tim Tebow’s mother ostensibly wanted to give birth so badly that she was willing to risk her life to carry her pregnancy to term. This places her apart from a majority of women who seek to terminate their pregnancies because they did not plan them and either can’t afford or do not want to have a child. It should also be noted that Mrs. Tebow already had four children when she was pregnant with Tim. It is unlikely that the ad focuses on the fact that she would have left four children motherless if she had died as a result of her commitment to bringing Tim Tebow into the world and thus into the Florida Gators.
No, the brilliant part of this ad is not what it glosses over, but that it targets with laser precision a dread that I have come to believe lurks in the reptilian brain of every anti-abortionist, and even some who are pro-choice: the irrational fear that if their mothers had had the option to choose not to give birth to them, they wouldn’t be alive today. Scary, right? Makes you think? Not really.
I personally am a very analytical person. I tend to over-think everything, from what I should do with my career to what I should have for lunch. But I do not now, nor have I ever, nor WILL I ever wonder what the world would have been like if my mother had aborted me. Because really, what’s the point? Obviously I was born. That’s that. Why pursue such vague and disturbing and ultimately useless what-ifs? Either you’re born, or you’re not, and if one happened, there’s no way to know what it would have been like if the other had happened instead, so why waste your time thinking about it?
Yet many do. The fact that their mothers held incredible power over their lives and could have made a choice not to bring them into this world haunts them. It keeps them up at night. They may not even realize it, but by picketing planned parenthood clinics and harassing young pregnant women and creating pro-life propaganda, they aren’t only fighting to save unborn babies they know nothing about; they’re fighting, in some strange way, to save themselves, and to take away the choice that every mother should have to carry a child to term or not, so that they can rest assured that their lives never hung in the balance, the way Tim Tebow’s could have (but ultimately didn’t).
The flip side of the coin of course is that for every Mrs. Tebow there was also a Mrs. Dahmer. It’s hard to argue that the world is a better place because Tim Tebow is in it, without also reflecting that the world would have also been a better place if Pol Pot’s mother had had second thoughts during her first trimester. This pointless line of thinking; this attribution of some greater design to past incidents which relied heavily on chance and circumstance, leads to murkiness, not clarity.
I’ll be curious to see reactions to this ad once it finally airs. Although I find every argument against allowing women the freedom to choose to be unconvincing, I’ve got to give this ad credit for tapping into an inexplicable and profound dread of the anti-abortionist movement. Tim Tebow, not only did you grace the September 2008 cover of Men’s Fitness magazine, but you’re also about to become the poster child of our deepest fears. Do your mama proud!