What Focus on the Family Sold to Super Bowl Fans

Without the build-up and the context of CBS breaking its own ban on “political” messaging, the Focus on the Family ad which ran during the Super Bowl was itself not so remarkable.  The explicit message: Pam Tebow is tough, and decided to carry a pregnancy that could have killed her and the fetus, then gave birth to a Heismann trophy winning college football star she calls “Timmy.”

But look at the Focus website to which viewers were directed.  A discussion with Tebow’s parents and Jim Daly (James Dobson’s replacement at Focus on the Family) ends with Robert Tebow intoning into the camera, “DON’T KILL YOUR BABY.”

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow, Biblical literalist, wears his beliefs on his face

Shelby Knox

Shelby Knox's Twitter profile

The back story, you learn in the film, is that the Tebows decided to have a fifth child who would become a preacher.  The parents and children named the fetus “Timothy.”  When Pam had a medical contraindication of pregnancy, she did not consider abortion, and says in the film that if she would have died, it would have been “worth it.”

So OK, that was her choice, given that she thinks god would have cared for her 4 live children, because she made such a sacrifice.  This Dark Ages approach to the role of women — as incubators of children before any other social role — is all over the Focus on the Family website.  Sunsara Taylor took it on in a video protesting the ad.

Go a few more clicks into the Focus on the Family site, under unplanned pregnancy, and you get to the “Know Your Options” link which is designed to appear as if it’s an actual source of information on options.  But no, the first paragraph of “Considering Abortion?” is

Abortion is not just a simple medical procedure. For many women, it is a life changing event with significant physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Most women who struggle with past abortions say that they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion and its risks.

Which the site, of course, proceeds to do, repeating the lies that abortion causes breast cancer and that “death” is a complication of legal abortion in the U.S.  No information on the risks of pregnancy are given, for comparison.

There are more fake clinics, i.e. “crisis pregnancy centers” in the United States now, which provide no medical care or correct information to women with unplanned pregnancy – over 4,000 – than there are clinics which provide abortion and birth control.  To understand the damage these “clinics” do, see Crisis of Deception: Fake Clinics Spread Misinformation on the Federal Dime.

This network, which receives federal “abstinence-only” funds, and gobs of private funding, has more sophisticated imaging equipment than many medical offices responsible for women’s health.  They use fetal ultrasound images to convince women to continue pregnancies, whether they came into the facility seeking abortions, or genuinely wanted information on all the options.

Rosemary Candelario, in “Focusing on Families: Behind the Tebow Super Bowl Ad” asks

Is this ad, and its supporting web videos and pages, the Trojan horse of a new, slick, public relations attack on abortion? Coupled with the murder of Dr. George Tiller less than a year ago and increased threats against always (literally) embattled abortion providers, Focus on the Family’s ad could indeed prove quite dangerous.

This whole package of indoctrination, forced motherhood, and disinformation on women’s health is what CBS and Focus on the Family served up to Super Bowl watchers.


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