The Power of Women and Life

The National Organization for Women has protested the decision of CBS to allow a pro-life ad from Focus on the Family to air during the Super Bowl game. The ad features Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam. Pam returned the kickoff of a life-threatening pregnancy to put Tim in the red zone for claiming that Heisman trophy. NOW has called on CBS to dump the ad, prompting Sarah Palin – currently the starting quarterback of the pro-life team, and a player with serious skin in the game – to respond with a characteristically bold forward pass from her Facebook pocket:

What a ridiculous situation they’re getting themselves into now with their protest of CBS airing a pro-life ad during the upcoming Super Bowl game. The ad will feature Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mom, and they’ll speak to the sanctity of life and the beautiful potential within every innocent child as Mrs. Tebow acknowledges her choice to give Tim life, despite less than ideal circumstances. Messages like this empower women! This speaks to the strength and commitment and nurturing spirit within women. The message says everything positive and nothing negative about the power of women – and life. Evidently, some women’s rights groups like NOW do not like that message.

NOW president Terry O’Neill says Palin is missing the point:

The goal of the Focus on the Family ad is not to empower women. It’s to create a climate in which Roe v. Wade can be overturned. There are always going to be women who need abortions. In this country, one in three women will have an abortion.

So, the point is that people who think Roe vs. Wade should be overturned lose their right to free speech? Does this principle apply to all Supreme Court decisions? If so, I guess we’d better get started on the Obama impeachment hearings, after the embarrassing disrespect he showed the Supreme Court during the State of the Union address.

It’s nostalgic to read a press release from NOW again. The organization was last seen sinking into the bubbling tar of the Clinton impeachment saga, babbling incomprehensibly about how sexual harassment really isn’t such a big deal when pro-abortion Democrat presidents do it. Like every appendage of the socialist state, NOW has no principle beyond fealty to the political party that grants it power, and the Democrats used to grant them a remarkable amount of power – enough to end the careers of Navy officers and combat pilots, after “investigations” that stopped just short of waterboarding. When NOW talks about “empowering” women, it speaks in the collective sense. Empowerment comes from obedience to feminist organizations, which use that power to drag an oversized chair up to the grim carving table where the Democrat Party wields its redistibutionist cleavers.

Some critics cite unquestioning support for unrestricted abortion rights as the primary demonstration of loyalty power feminists seek from their supporters, but the NOW offensive against the Tebow ad, and their response to Sarah Palin, suggest the true sacrament of radical feminism is not abortion… it’s opposition to the pro-life movement. Power in a collectivist system comes from tribal loyalty, and hatred is a powerful glue for holding collectives together. As with leftist racial groups, NOW has very little positive to offer its supporters these days, so it thrives by pointing fingers at its enemies. Religious people in general, and outspoken pro-life advocates in particular, look very good on the business end of a trembling finger.

The Tebow ad will not call for the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. It’s meant to be a heartfelt endorsement of life, from a mother who chose it against the recommendation of doctors, in the face of her own suffering and possible death. As Palin says:

NOW is looking at the pro-life issue backwards. Women should be reminded that they are strong enough and smart enough to make decisions that allow for career and educational opportunities while still giving their babies a chance at life. In my own home, my daughter Bristol has also been challenged by pro-abortion “women’s rights” groups who don’t agree with her decision to have her baby, nor do they like the abstinence message which she articulated as her personal commitment.

My own opposition to abortion-on-demand is not religious in nature. I believe there aren’t enough people in the world. The decision to deny a human being his, or her, opportunity to enter the living world and make the choices that compose a lifetime should never be made lightly. For people of religious faith, the exercise of free will was a parting gift to creation from its Author. For the atheist, the expanding nova of human choice brings light and meaning into a universe of cold dust and searing plasma. Either way, life is precious, and it follows that those who follow Pam Tebow’s path are worthy of respect. How can we render that respect, if we insist her choice was absolutely equivalent to terminating little Tim, right up to the moment when his head emerged from the birth canal?

We’re nowhere near the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, a naked exercise of raw judicial power… which is apparently so fragile that a son thanking his mother for the gift of life could tear it to shreds. I wonder how many of the other iron laws supporting statism are actually written on tissue paper. If Roe were repealed, the question of abortion restrictions would return to the states, and people contemplating the examples of Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, and Pam Tebow would gain the dangerous freedom to express their beliefs through smaller, more responsive governments. I can understand why NOW and its fellow travelers would be terrified of that possibility. It has nothing to do with “keeping abortion legal,” for there is no chance Americans would ever vote to outlaw it completely, in every state. It has everything to do with siphoning power from the useful fantasy of a world that will never exist, and the ugly caricatures who tower above it with scourges and holy books.

A society reveals much of its character in the way it treats its women and children. Palin finds common cause with NOW in calling out “advertisers and networks for airing sexist and demeaning portrayals of women that lead to young women’s diminished self-esteem and acceptance of roles as mere sexed-up objects.” Abortion on demand has been very useful for preserving the self-esteem of men who desire casual sex without consequence. Perhaps those men would be less likely to view the women in their lives as problems, if they didn’t know there was an easy solution right around the corner.

The Tebows are not planning to use their Super Bowl minutes for a sermon, or to impose their views on anyone. They only want their chance to testify that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not an equation that balances out to zero. The idea that such a statement is unacceptably political is further evidence that our lives have become too politicized, because too many decisions have been bumped to an upstairs office that doesn’t even have a suggestion box.

NOW is mistaking a compelling narrative for compulsion. No organization that demands suppression of the other side’s free speech is “pro-choice” in any sense of the words. Feminists are certainly free to produce their own Super Bowl ad, trumpeting the virtues of partial-birth abortion, or any other practice they don’t think Pam and Tim Tebow support with suitable enthusiasm. Something tells me most people would choose to change the channel during that ad.

Cross-posted at