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General News    H3'ed 1/19/10

Are Football Star and His Mother Sending the Wrong Message on Aborton?

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Message Roger Shuler
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, will be featured in a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl in February. The Christian group Focus on the Family is behind the ad, and it is expected to send an anti-abortion message.

Details about the ad are sketchy, but it apparently will chronicle Pam Tebow's 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, Pam Tebow ignored a recommendation by doctors to have an abortion and gave birth to Tim, the fifth child she'd had with her husband, Bob.

We have to wonder if the Tebows, in their desire to share their faith, are instead sending a dangerous message.

Pam Tebow's difficult pregnancy was covered in a 2007 article titled "Coaching Character," by Suzy A. Richardson of the Gainesville Sun. Writes Richardson:

In 1985, the family moved to the Philippines, where they lived as missionaries, sharing their Christian faith with the island's natives and building a ministry.

"It wasn't always easy, but it was a wonderful time for our family," Pam said. "We learned a lot--you always learn a lot when you visit a Third World country. You grow in appreciation for everything you have."

As the couple reached out to families across the island, they prayed to expand their own.

"We started praying for Timmy by name, and then we got pregnant so we just felt like God had a special plan for him," she said.

The pregnancy, however, was troubled from the outset:

Just before her pregnancy, Pam fell into a coma after contracting amoebic dysentery, a bacteria transmitted through contaminated drinking water. During her recovery, she received a series of strong medications. And even though she discontinued the regimen when she discovered the pregnancy, doctors told Pam the fetus had been damaged.

Doctors later told Pam that her placenta had detached from the uterine wall, a condition known as placental abruption, which can deprive the fetus of oxygen and nutrients. Doctors expected a stillbirth, Pam said, and they encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy.

"They thought I should have an abortion to save my life from the beginning all the way through the seventh month," she recalled.

Pam Tebow said she sustained the pregnancy because of her faith:

"We were grieved," she said. "And so my husband just prayed that if the Lord would give us a son, that he would let us raise him."

In her seventh month of pregnancy, Pam traveled to the country's capital, Manila, where she received around-the-clock care from an American-trained physician.

For the next two months, Pam--steadfastly praying for a healthy child --remained on bed rest.

And on her due date--Aug. 14, 1987--Pam gave birth to Timothy Richard Tebow, who she described as "skinny, but rather long." "We were concerned at first because he was so malnourished, but he definitely made up for it," she said, between laughs. Today Tim, now 20, stands at a solid 6'3" and 235 pounds.

We have a pro-choice stance on abortion rights here at Legal Schnauzer, believing that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided and should remain the law of the land. The Tebow ad apparently does not touch on the political and legal aspects of abortion--at least in an overt way. We have no problem with those who seek to encourage alternatives to abortion. We particularly support those who seek to address the issues that often lead to unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

The Tebow ad, while it has a heart-warming ending, sounds like it will send some dangerous messages. We can think of a couple:

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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