Superbowl Sunday has been about more than just the football game for several years as marketing companies use the event to debut the new clever ad campaigns. Many companies use the latest technology for special effects, others tell stories that span several commercials during the event, and some use the prime audience to put out a message. This year, one such message is drawing significant attention more than a week before the commercial is slated to air.
The spot was commissioned by Focus on the Family and features Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother relating the story of how his mother decided to carry Tim to term against her doctor’s medical recommendation. From reports on the commercial, it does not mention the word abortion or pro-life at any time during the spot. Yet the fact that CBS is airing the ad is polarizing the populous as it reopens an old argument that divides our country.
It is said that it takes two to argue. Many people try to take a peacemaker role by finding some common ground but find those efforts thwarted by rhetorical shifts in the message. In fact, in order to swing public opinion one way or the other, the two factions have given themselves positive names: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. For this argument to truly meet head-on, the lines need to be drawn more clearly. If you are not Pro-Life, then you must be Pro-death. If you are not pro-choice, you must be anti-choice.
The argument of pro life vs. pro-choice is attacking the same issue from disparate platforms. The conflict of a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body versus the rights of the unborn can never meet on common ground because they are two different matters. Discussing the laudable premise of individual rights is one problem, and discussing the rights of the unborn is another.
Who shall tell a woman what she can do with her body? The body is considered by some the only true sovereign place left, a place where an individual has some degree of control. Or is it? Many people choose to smoke, yet legislation is in place in every state that limits smokers from indulging in their choice, and if the antismoking lobby gets its way, it will ban smoking for good. What about smoker’s right to choose? What about right to choose your diet? Foods fried in trans fats often taste better than other ways of cooking, but in several states, there are laws preventing people from buying them, since the restaurants can’t cook them. One phrase that pro-choice advocates repeat is “keep government out of my body,” but the government has been meddling in people’s bodies for years.
And is not the right to choose obviated in the choice to engage in unprotected sex? We make choices every day that may not be good for us. I love pie. A lot. I would eat pie at every meal if I could. If I choose to do that, however, I have to understand that there will be probable outcomes of getting fat or getting sick. Is it my right to be able to eat and not get fat? Is it a woman’s right to engage in unprotected sex and not have to deal with the consequences of that act?
That people will engage in sex is a given. We are human beings, driven by hormones and seeking pleasure, so sex is a common choice to satisfy those urges. Pro-choice advocates will say that teaching abstinence is unrealistic because of these urges. Kids will do what they will do and we have to have options to protect them from the consequences of unintended pregnancies. Perhaps they need better lessons in cause and effect. They need to learn that the choices they make may have life-altering consequences, and adults need to stop throwing their hands in the air and enabling kids to do whatever they want.
Free will and choice only goes so far before some level of responsibility has to come into play. If someone wants to engage in sex, one does so knowing that a possible outcome is a baby. Birth control devices abound that minimize the possibility of pregnancy. If the chance of failure is too great a risk, then abstinence is the only choice left.
Next blog: The other argument.