Telling Women What to Do at the Super Bowl

By Lina Thorne 

Note: The trial of the admitted murderer Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist who says he shot Dr. Tiller last May because he was “saving babies” and is arguing justifiable homicide in the Wichita courtroom started last Friday (on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, ‘coincidentally’).  Debra Sweet has a piece about it. You can also see the updates on RH Reality Check.
Right now, the most media buzz about abortion centers around CBS’s decision to reverse their policy of prohibiting all “advocacy” ads during the Superbowl, and accept millions of dollars from Focus on the Family for a 30 second ad attacking women’s right to abortion.
CBS’s former policy extended even to an ad from the United Church of Christ, which tried to buy airtime for an ad arguing gay people should be welcome in church in 2005. CBS has also turned down ads from PETA and Moveon, but has suddenly had a change of heart and will allow Focus on the Family to spew its hatred of women at the largest annual national audience of TV watchers.
Focus on the Family is one of the largest, if not the largest, Christian Fascist organizations in the country. Led for years by James Dobson (who once attributed legal abortion to be a cause of 9/11), who recently stepped down to pursue independent projects, they are responsible for large scale anti-abortion mobilizations, often deploying enormous fetal pornography displays on campuses, along with teams of trained, paid, student activists.
The Superbowl ad will feature Tim Tebow, a Heisman-winning football player for the University of Florida Gators, and his mother, who obviously did not have an abortion while pregnant with him. Born to Christian missionaries in the Philippines, Tebow takes religion into sports on a whole other level, often playing with bible verses written on his cheeks.
While the National Organization for Women, Not Under the Bus, and other women’s groups have campaigned for CBS to cancel the misogynist ad, it has been described in the media as problematic mainly for its divisiveness and controversial nature. No, that’s not the problem! The problem is that there’s nothing wrong with abortion, that in fact women need access to abortion in order to have a chance at full and productive lives, and yet, we are constantly heaped with scorn and shame, our doctors are harassed and murdered, and the state enforces and prevents our ability to access abortion. And now we’re going to get it, explicitly, during the Superbowl, too.
I have no problem with controversy and polarizing topics entering into the commercial breaks of the Superbowl. In fact, if they would advertise what is really going on in Haiti, or publicize the disastrous climate crisis humanity is in the midst of – offering people a chance to think about what they can do to speak up and stand up for what’s right – that would be a great thing. Reaching millions of people during the Superbowl with political messages is A-OK.
But picture this: as Erin Matson, (a Vice-President of NOW) said, the Superbowl is about “sex and sexism.” Jiggling cheerleaders, beer commercials, a half-time show that may or may not involve a man violently ripping a woman’s clothes off… and a heartfelt message from a man and his mother that bearing children is the most important thing that a woman can do?
Main Reproductive Rights Telling Women What to Do at the Super Bowl


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.