Plans to air a pro-life Super Bowl ad with Tim Tebow and his mother have attracted protest from pro-abortion women’s groups. Defenses of the advertisement, themed “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life,” have come from Tebow and the organization sponsoring the commercial.
The 30-second ad, sponsored by Focus on the Family, intends to encourage respect for life. College football star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother will reportedly share their story in the ad.
Tebow’s mother contracted a life-threatening infection while pregnant with Tebow during mission work in the Philippines. She refused medical advice to abort her unborn son, whom she would name Timothy.
Tim Tebow has won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and has helped lead his University of Florida team to two BCS championships.
The New York-based Women’s Media Center has billed the ad as an “attack on choice” and has called on the 2010 Super Bowl broadcaster CBS to remove the ad.
The center was coordinating the protest with the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups.
“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 Americans together,” said Women’s Media Center president Jehmu Greene.
The protesters’ letter to CBS executives claimed that the ad uses one family’s story to “dictate morality to the American public” and risks women’s health by encouraging them to disregard medical advice.
The Women’s Media Center also made unspecified charges that Focus on the Family is an “anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization” that purportedly engaged in “race baiting” in the 2008 election.
“CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will alienate viewers and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers. The decision to air this ad would be ethically, economically and politically disastrous for CBS,” the organization claimed.
Organizers of the protest have also sent letters to the National Football League (NFL) and to Super Bowl advertisers.
On Sunday Tebow met with reporters in Mobile, Alabama and spoke about the ad.
"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," he remarked, according to the Associated Press.
Tebow said he has always been “very convicted” of 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.”
Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger said he and his colleagues were “a little surprised” at the reaction to the ad.
"There's nothing political and controversial about it," he told the Associated Press. "When the day arrives, and you sit down to watch the game on TV, those who oppose it will be quite surprised at what the ad is all about."
"We understand that some people don't think very highly of what we do," Schneeberger said. "We're not trying to sell you a soft drink—we're not selling anything. We're trying to celebrate families."
Last year a planned pro-life Super Bowl ad from CatholicVote.org on the potential of President Barack Obama was rejected by NBC.