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Lesson of the Tebow Family Story: Respect and Trust Women to Make Important Medical Decisions for Themselves and Their Families
New York, NY — Background: It’s been widely reported that the far-right political organization Focus on the Family has purchased time for a 30-second ad during the February 7, 2010, airing of the Super Bowl on CBS. While the details are not yet public, Focus on the Family has said the ad will feature University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother sharing their personal story about a very difficult medical decision made by Pam Tebow to carry her pregnancy to term against medical advice due to what had been diagnosed as a high risk pregnancy. Pam Tebow gave birth to her son Tim, who has just finished a successful college football career at the University of Florida. Reports indicate that the ad won’t have a hard political edge but will draw upon the power of an emotional experience to encourage viewers to oppose abortion. What will likely go unmentioned is Focus on the Family’s position, which is to outlaw legal abortion in the United States, except in rare cases when the woman’s life is severely at risk. A fact sheet detailing the extreme positions held by Focus on the Family immediately follows this statement.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is proud to launch an online video featuring U.S. Olympian Al Joyner and former college and professional football player Sean James sharing their own thoughts about sports, families, and the importance of personal decision making. This week Planned Parenthood is sharing this video with our supporters and asking them to sign an open statement while also sharing their own thoughts on the subject. You can watch the Joyner/James video here.
Statement by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards
“Planned Parenthood respects the ability of every woman to make important personal medical decisions for herself and her family, including the decision by Pam Tebow more than 20 years ago to carry her high-risk pregnancy to term and deliver her son Tim. The Tebows’ story is compelling, and central to it is the fact that we must respect the ability of every woman to make important medical decisions for herself and her family, after receiving counsel from medical professionals, religious leaders, family members, or others she trusts.
“The Tebow story underlines what Planned Parenthood has learned from the millions of women doctors and nurses at its health centers have cared for over nearly a century. Women take decisions about their health very seriously. They consider their doctors’ advice, they talk with their loved ones and people they trust, including religious leaders, and they carefully weigh all considerations before making the best decision for themselves and their families. This is true whether it’s a decision about their choice of contraception, specific medical treatments for illnesses like cancer, challenges related to medically complex pregnancies, or any other important health care issue they are considering.
“If Focus on the Family, the sponsor of the ad about the Tebow family, has its way, millions of women would no longer be able to make important personal medical decisions for themselves and their families when it comes to abortion. Focus on the Family’s long-stated goal is to outlaw abortion except in rare cases when the woman’s life is severely at risk. This is an extreme position, which would rob every woman of the ability to make important personal medical decisions for herself and her family.
“In addition to opposing a woman’s ability to make important medical decisions for herself, Focus on the Family also opposes commonsense comprehensive sex education and life-saving stem cell research. The agenda of this organization is far outside the mainstream of American life.
“Planned Parenthood urges all Americans to ponder the true meaning of the Tebow family’s experience — one in which a woman was presented with medical and moral considerations and made a deeply personal decision in private without government interference. That is exactly what we want every woman to be able to do when she must make important and highly personal medical decisions.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 840 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.