- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Do you hear that sound?

It’s the thunderous clap of women’s reproductive rights collapsing on itself. Or so some women’s groups would have you think, given their outrage over CBS’ decision to air the Super Bowl ad from the evangelical organization Focus on the Family.

According to a news release distributed by Focus on the Family, the commercial recounts the pregnancy of Pam Tebow, mother of 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. As the story goes, Mrs. Tebow was seven months pregnant when she contracted dysentery while working as a missionary in the Philippines. The treatment for dysentery posed such serious risks to Mrs. Tebow’s fetus that her doctor recommended abortion. Mrs. Tebow refused out of religious conviction, and a star football player was born.

By any reasonable measure, the ad was mild, respectful and definitely not offensive. It certainly didn’t cram religion or a pro-life position down the viewers’ throats. It did not invoke politically charged labels such as “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It is not angry, dark or violent. Nor did it demand that politicians legislate away anyone’s reproductive rights. The ad simply recounted a heartwarming tale of a woman’s conviction in the face of adversity. Seems pretty innocuous, right?

Not so, say several feminist groups who have decried the ad as an all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights.

The National Organization for Women (NOW), NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Women’s Media Center and the Feminist Majority Foundation urged CBS to abort the ad. In a letter to CBS, the Women’s Media Center said CBS was giving “one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization.” That letter accused CBS of throwing women “under the bus” by “encouraging young women to disregard medical advice, putting their lives at risk.”

Not to be outdone, Erin Matson, the new vice president of NOW, called the ad “hate masquerading as love” and labeled it an “anti-choice” missive. Feminist lawyer Gloria Allred went further, claiming that Mrs. Tebow made up her story about rejecting an abortion. How ridiculous, insulting and certainly insensitive.

Why are the relativists always the first to cast judgment on the religious, while the religious reserve judgment not so that their own beliefs will remain unchallenged, but because they either fear the reactions of those they are judging or are trying to “judge not, lest [they] be judged” themselves?

Their statements — nihilistic and repulsive to the core — are self-refuting: On the one hand, they argue that there is no superior truth or “way,” but underscoring this claim is 100 percent certainty that their way their nonjudgmentalism is clearly the superior way.

Their comments are truly vile. The commercial in question didn’t preach. It simply leads by example, providing would-be mothers who contemplate whether abortion is right for them with yes, gasp a bit of compunction, hoping that women pause to contemplate whether abortion is really the right move.

What the pro-abortionist comments ultimately reveal is that this isn’t about choice for them it’s about abortion … the right to abort whenever, for whatever reason, however, wherever a woman wants, with no need to pause or consider. It is truly evil. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton showed an unusual amount of courage and thoughtfulness and yes, even a sense of morality when she said abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”

Notably, none of the organizations spewing anti-Tebow vitriol actually had seen the ad before dispensing the divisive and misguided rhetoric. Somehow this rousing fact hasn’t stopped them from “uniting in tolerance” and demanding that CBS abort the ad. This response is at least somewhat ironic coming from the self-styled harbingers of “choice.” I guess society should be tolerant about the most intimate decisions women make about their bodies, unless those decisions involve choosing to keep their babies.

These groups are supposed to represent women. They fail to do so when their response to objectionable political ideas is urging women everywhere to cover their eyes and ears. Do the women of NOW think that women are so weak-minded that they are going to abandon their reproductive rights after seeing a 30-second ad about a woman continuing her pregnancy in the face of adversity? The sheer stridency of their response smacks of desperation.

This point was not lost on the New York Times, which stopped just short of accusing the women’s groups opposing the ad of agitating for political censorship:

“Instead of trying to silence an opponent, advocates for allowing women to make their own decisions about whether to have a child should be using the Super Bowl spotlight to convey what their movement is all about: Protecting the right of women like Pam Tebow to make their private reproductive choices. … After the network screens ads for accuracy and taste, viewers can watch and judge for themselves. Or they can get up from the couch and get a sandwich.”

Get it? Their attempts to get the Tebow ad pulled was the wrong response, well-meaning or not. Abortion is a contentious social issue. As with all contentious social issues, the national dialogue benefits from a diversity of perspectives. Indeed, this country’s entire First Amendment history is animated by the idea that truth rises up from the friction of diverse views. Where the marketplace of ideas is concerned, more speech — not less — is the best revenge. If women’s groups are concerned about the Tebow ad, they should have purchased their own ad time, instead of agitating for censorship. This kind of open exchange of ideas would provide the public with the best possible information from which to consider, debate and discuss an important issue — as they should in a healthy democracy.

Notably, CBS has invited the protesters to buy their own ad time. So far, no one has taken up CBS on its offer. With mind-numbing intransigence, the women’s groups continue to agitate for censorship. In doing so, they betray an essential truth about themselves: To them, pro-choice does not have anything to do with a woman’s control over her body; it simply means pro-abortion, and any views to the contrary should be aborted from the marketplace of ideas altogether.

How ironic that such groups claim to be “pro-choice.”

“The Armstrong Williams Show” is broadcast on XM Satellite’s Power 169 channel from 9 to 10 p.m. weeknights.

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