An Affirmation of Life

Pro-life and pro-adoption groups affirm the power and strength of women. Even if its just a seed of faith the pro-child message plants in a parent's mind, that bit of faith can grow. . . If not for those groups providing an affirming voice, it would be easy to go along with what society wants women to believe: that it's easier to end a pregnancy than to bring the baby into this world. Society has made women believe that they cannot do both . .
Sarah Palin
I'm livid at the uproar over the 30-second Focus on the Family, Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner who quarterbacked his Florida team to two college football titles. On Monday, a coalition of 'women's advocacy' groups led by the New York-based Women's Media Center, with backing from the National Organization of Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation, urged CBS to scrap the spot which recounts the story of Pam Tebow's high risk pregnancy.

In 1987, though desperately ill, Tebow ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her pregnancy and later gave birth to her fifth child, football star Tim Tebow.

According to Gary Schneeberger of Focus on the Family, ". . . we're not selling anything. We're trying to celebrate families."

"The Media Center contends that the ad uses the story to "dictate morality to the American public" and "uses sports to divide rather than unite." This is preposterous!

Thirty years ago, I sat on a cold metal folding chair in a cubical at the women's health center on the Michigan State University campus, waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. We didn't have at-home pregnancy tests in those days.

After confirming that I was indeed pregnant, the nursing aid kindly offered to help me schedule an appointment to terminate the pregnancy. In fact, she urged me to make the appointment first and think about it later, as I could always cancel. I told the woman I was Catholic and left immediately, but not before she stuffed a wad of 'woman's reproductive rights' pamphlets in my hand. The pamphlets assured me that I had a right to end my pregnancy.

To say I was frightened and overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was a twenty-year old, unmarried college student; the apple of my parents' eye and oldest grandchild in a conservative Catholic family. I had no idea how was I going to face my family or tell my boyfriend.

My head swam as I drove back to my apartment. I felt utterly alone. My boyfriend/fiance lived in another state, and my parents in yet another.

Back in my apartment, my roommate quietly assured me that everything would be fine. We sat together on the couch where she handed me the name and number of the clinic that 'handled' her unwanted pregnancy a few months before. It would be easy to have 'it' taken care of. She offered to go with me. In fact, she offered her boyfriend's assistance as well. I was stunned.

For me, having an abortion was not an option. I refused to seriously considered it, in spite of the cheer leading and encouragement I received from my friend and the woman at the health center.

Years later, as the stay-at-home mother of two, I volunteered to be a 'voice at the end of the phone-line' for a pregnancy hot-line. I never got a call, but I was ready to listen and offer the encouragement that I never received in those first vulnerable hours. I was prepared to give voice to the other side - the side that advocates life.

Once again, I am appalled at the so-called women's advocacy groups and their agenda. They certainly don't speak or advocate for me and the pamphlets they wrote certainly weren't advocating for my unborn daughter all those years ago.

The day Governor Sarah Palin, a woman in her early forties, discovered she was pregnant with her fifth child, she was alone in a city outside of her home state. In her book, Going Rogue, she recalls:
It was a fleeting thought, a sudden understanding of why women feel pressured to make the 'problem' go away. Sad, I thought, that our society has elevated things like education and career above the gift of bringing new life into the world. Yes, the timing of this pregnancy wasn't ideal. But that wasn't the baby's fault. I knew, though, what goes through a woman's mind when she finds herself in a difficult situation. At that moment, I was thankful for the right-to-life groups that affirm the value of the child.
Women who choose to keep their babies even though it may be inconvenient or unhealthy to do so, are often belittle and maligned by the other side. I've been told that my case was different because I loved and was loved by my daughter's father. How dare they minimize the fear and angst I felt. An unplanned pregnancy is life-altering no matter who you are or how you look at it, but it doesn't have to be life-ending.

Those of us that advocate giving voice to the other-side, the side that affirms life, need to stand up to those who would silence our pro-life message. The Tebows and pro-life groups like Focus on the Family aren't trying to divide us against each other, nor are they trying to dictate morality. They're offering balance.

Because I never considered having an abortion, I rarely think about the what-if. I quit school to get married and have my baby. I can't imagine what my life would be like if my beautiful daughter had never been born. I would never know the joy of hearing my grandson tell me he loves me or the wonder of looking into the sapphire-blue eyes of my youngest grandson.

I thank God every day for my parents and other life advocates who 'planted the seeds of faith' in my mind. If not for them, I may have made a terrible choice.


  1. Karen, I very much agree. This is well spoken and you are 100% correct. I am with you in your stand and certainly couldn't agree with you more.