Super Bowl Sunday: A Failed Opportunity to Redirect our Focus on Family Planning

In a break from the typically light-hearted ads promoting cars, soda, and beer, this year’s Super Bowl was the first in history to feature an advertisement from an advocacy organization.  Created by Focus on the Family—an evangelical group opposed to abortion—the ad highlighted the story of Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the Florida Gators whose mother chose to continue her pregnancy against medical advice.

CBS decided to air the ad despite drawing criticism from pro-choice groups and counter-protests from pro-life organizations.  Ultimately, the message was tamer than anticipated (a pro-life viewpoint was never explicitly stated).  That the commercial’s subtle execution was still anti-choice serves as a reminder that discussion about family planning issues in the U.S. remains highly political.  Instead of addressing the complexities of a woman’s right to choose (failing even to acknowledge that Pam Tebow was able to choose her preferred medical approach), the ad distills the message of family planning into an overly simplistic “celebration of family and life.”  Though the ad has spurred much discussion, it has done nothing to open meaningful dialogues about abortion.  Perhaps a 30-second advertisement is not an appropriate venue for responsible discussions about family planning.

To view the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad:

For Planned Parenthood’s response to the Tim Tebow ad, please visit: