Abortion Advocates: Pro-Abortion Groups Wrong on Tebow Ad, Pro-Lifers Winning
by Steven Ertelt
February 1, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The campaign by pro-abortion groups to get CBS to reverse its decision to run the Focus on the Family commercial featuring Tim Tebow is causing so much backlash that two former leaders of prominent pro-abortion groups are calling on abortion advocates to call off the dogs.
The candid comments follow a surprising editorial from the New York Times defending the ad and the Tebow family.
Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL and Frances Kissling, who ran the pro-abortion group calling itself "Catholics for Choice," wrote the op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday.
They take to task NOW, Emily’s List and other abortion advocates who have criticized CBS for running the ad, which reportedly features Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow talking about her decision not to have an abortion in the face of threats to her health during her pregnancy with Tim.
"For abortion rights supporters, picking on Tim Tebow and his mom is not the way to go. Instead of trying to block or criticize the Focus on the Family ad, the pro-choice movement needs its own Super Bowl strategy," the pair write.
Saying Americans want to be inspired rather than be subjected to harsh criticism, and they say Focus and Tebow are winning the messaging debate on abortion.
They write, "the conversation is being led by Focus on the Family and its quarterback ambassador. It’s a high-profile example of the savvy way the antiabortion movement has tailored its message."
"Those opposed to legal abortions have learned a lot about reaching out to the many Americans who can’t make up their minds about the issue. Many of these people don’t want abortion to be illegal but believe that too many such procedures take place in this country," they added.
"Pam Tebow was indeed courageous," they admit and say abortion advocates should focus on supporting her choice instead of bashing pro-life advocates. "Presenting Americans with a challenge of personal sacrifice, especially if the person who has to sacrifice is a woman, is a convincing sell."
The pro-abortion pair go as far as naming names.
"Erin Matson, the National Organization for Women’s new vice president, called the Tebow spot ‘hate masquerading as love,’" they note. "That kind of comment may play well in the choice choir, but to others, it makes no sense, at best; at worst, it’s seen as the kind of stridency that reinforces the view that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion."
Astonishingly, Michelman and Kissling say the pro-life movement is winning and they point out how.
"In 1995 Gallup asked respondents for the first time whether they considered themselves "to be pro-choice or pro-life." Only 33% took on the pro-life label. In 2009, 51% considered themselves pro-life, and pro-choice had dropped from a high of 56% to 44%," they note.
They credit ultrasounds, the partial-birth abortion debate and professional advertising like the Focus on the Family ad for turning the corner on public opinion in favor of the pro-life side.
"Science played a big role, making the fetus more visible. Today, the first picture in most baby books is the 12-week 3D ultrasound, and Grandma and Grandpa have that photo posted on the fridge," adding that Americans now read about surgeries done on babies in the womb.
The partial-birth abortion debate they admit successful resulted in "shifting attention from the choice movement’s effective "who decides" message."
"From that point forward, abortions in the second half of pregnancy and graphic descriptions of how they are performed dominated coverage of the issue," they wrote.
Ultimately, for Michelman and Kissling, "there is no doubt that some segments of the antiabortion movement were more nimble and consistent in reaching out to the uncommitted than the choice advocates were."
"Today, all sorts of well-educated and progressive people are comfortable calling themselves pro-life. In the public eye, the term seems to encompass a broader and more moderate vision, not focused solely on what it opposes," they say.
In the end, Michelman and Kissling say the best pro-abortion response is its own ad showing women coming to the camera talking about their pregnancy decisions. They say abortion needs to be mainstreamed along with choices such as birth and adoption.
Jill Stanek, a pro-life blogger, responded to the editorial in the Post calling it "pretty remarkable."
"Kissling and Michelman basically tell pro-aborts to buy their own ad or shut up. Much of their op ed could have been written by a pro-lifer," she says.
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