Tebow’s choice?

One of the reasons Sarah Palin is so beloved by the religious right is the compelling anti-abortion story of her baby with Down’s Syndrome.   (Never mind that it’s really a story of choice, since Palin considered abortion but *chose* to carry the pregnancy to term.)  Conservatives are enthralled, and Palin’s done well by it.  She’s probably the most in-demand keynote speaker on the social conservative/anti-abortion circuit — at upwards of $100,000 a speech, she’s her own  industry.  Who wouldn’t be encouraged to try getting some of that action for themselves?

Which brings us to Pam Tebow and her son Tim the quarterback.  Tebow’s become something of an anti-choice celebrity with the story of her difficult pregnancy with Tim.  She’s a regular speaker on the anti-abortion circuit, and will be featured in a Focus on the Family commercial to run during the Superbowl.

In the commercial, Ms.Tebow reportedly shares the story of how she was ill during her pregnancy, doctors advised her to abort and she refused (or “made the brave and virtuous choice“… huh.  There’s that word again, “choice”), and at immense personal risk and peril carried the pregnancy to term.  And the rest is history.  Another compelling anti-abortion story?   Maybe… if it’s true:

When pregnant with Tim, Pam Tebow was in the Philippines on a mission and became ill with amoebic dysentery.  Early reports indicated that she was faced with a choice of continuing the pregnancy at the risk to her life.

That appears not to be true.  Indeed the very facts of the situation are now in question.

During a bible study class, Pam Tebow related that “during that pregnancy, a Philippine doctor suggested that she abort the fetus because the strong medications she was being treated with for amoebic dysentery, which she had contacted early in the pregnancy, could cause serious disabilities to the fetus.”

Suggested that she abort the pregnancy?  Or laid out the various risks that were possible, leaving her to her own judgment and choices?  Made a definitive judgment that the fetus would unquestionably be harmed?  Or described the risks of the medication necessary to treat the dysentery, including possible risks to the fetus?  All of these are very different scenarios than the ones earlier suggested.

Exactly:  a doctor advising a pregnant patient of all the potential risks isn’t the same thing as a doctor telling a patient she absolutely will be in mortal danger unless she terminates the pregnancy, which is what Tebow suggests in her version of the story.  To top it off:

Abortion was criminalized in the Philippines in 1870 and has been illegal in the country ever since. There are no exceptions to the law. Abortion is even prohibited when a woman’s life or health is in danger. Women are punished with imprisonment between two to six years if they obtain one. Doctors and midwives who directly cause or assist a woman in an abortion face six years imprisonment and may have their licenses suspended or revoked.

So Tebow had no choice — she was just lucky.

Ironically, that little factoid almost makes her story a better pro-choice parable — “I didn’t have the choice, but I got lucky.  What about all the women who don’t?”

(h/t amptoons via Rob F in teh comments)

18 Responses to “Tebow’s choice?”


  1. 1 Bleatmop Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Excellent, well written article. Very good illustration about how this story about life is actually about choice. Its too bad that Ms. Tebow doesn’t realize what actually happened. She didn’t choose life. She didn’t choose anything except to treat a medical condition. I also doubt she would have been afforded that choice had she chosen to not take the medication. After all the birthing machine must be kept alive and deliver no matter the cost to the woman’s liberty or the fetus’s development in a forced birther’s mind, no?

  2. 2 Cornelius T.Zen Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    JJ: “She’s probably the most in-demand keynote speaker on the social conservative/anti-abortion circuit — at upwards of $100,000 a speech, she’s her own industry”
    And she wants to be President? That job only pays about $200,000 a year — in other words, she can beat that making *three* speeches. No, it’s about the POWER!
    Pam Tebow is making a big deal about bringing her child to full term — which she intended to do *in the first place*, right?
    In other words, “I could have had an abortion, but I *chose* not to.” That is what choice means — making a decision to do either one thing, or another, weighing facts and feelings, and deciding. The word “decide” derives from Latin, and means, “to eliminate other choices”.
    What happens to all those women who bring damaged or handicaped children into the world, and have no existing or available support systems, like, extended family, or social services support? Would we ever hear about them, or do they simply, as in the mindset of the so-called conservatives, simply not exist?
    I find it strange that people who rail against the teaching of evolution display such Darwinian philosphies.
    God Is An Iron – CTZen

  3. 3 k'in Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Could never put my finger on it, but something about Tim Tebow has always creeped me out.

    Finding out he has a fetus-fetishist wingnut mommy with a penchant for revisionist history helps to explain that unsettled feeling in the gut.

    Seriously-why would any young dude with the world by the ass scribble bible verses on his cheeks on game day?

    Stockholm syndrome.

    Mommy Tebow doesn’t want to lose control of her meal ticket/son.

  4. 4 Phatbiker Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    He scribbles bible verses on his cheeks (face cheeks or butt cheeks?). That’s soooo fucked up!

  5. 5 Bene D Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    “Throughout her talk, Tebow frequently mentioned experiences as she homeschooled her five children where the emphasis was first on the Bible and scriptures and then on academics.”

    Oh oh. Mrs. Tebow has a degree in communications, I guess she thought it was time to use it.

    Tim made a statement about his ad:

    “I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I’m never shy about that. I don’t feel like I’m very preachy about it, but I do stand up for what I believe. Unfortunately in today’s society not many athletes tend to do that. So I’m just standing for something. I’ve always been every convicted of it (being anti-abortion), because that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it.”

    Focus on the Family could have given him a media person, communication isn’t his strong suit. And if they didn’t investigate his moms story, others certainly will. Too late to turn back now.

  6. 6 Bina Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    So…basically, Pam and Tim Tebow want to import Filipino-style healthcare to the US? Am I reading correctly?

  7. 7 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Bleatmop – Thanks :)
    Once you get the details on this story (ie. her life wasn’t “in danger” and the doctor most certainly would not have advised her to abort in any case) it definitely changes the tone. Funny how just a few minor details can do that :roll:

  8. 8 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    CTZen – Actually, Sarah Palin is making so much money on the speech-giving circuit, and now being on Fox, that I don’t see why she’d even want to run for President. There’s way more money and a lot less work involved in what she’s doing right now. (Not to mention a lot less demonization, which I’m sure she’s probably tired of by now.) Her best bet would be to get her own show, either a politics show or maybe even an Oprah-type show.

  9. 9 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    k’in

    Seriously-why would any young dude with the world by the ass scribble bible verses on his cheeks on game day?

    A lot of players are very devout Christians — some of them pray before games, etc. Tebow’s scribbling on his face is a little over the top melodramatic, reminiscent of those gun sights that were sent over to Iraq with the scripture verses printed on them. Some of these people are just very demonstrative (to say the least).

  10. 10 Cornelius T.Zen Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Good morrow, JJ!
    The difference being, of course, that Oprah can actually *read* the books she promotes on her program.
    Sarah has probably figured out that more people will take her seriously while she’s on Fox. OTOH, the people that take Sarah seriously have yet to clue in that the Earth is round.
    If nothing else, now she can afford her to indulge her tastes in wardrobe. Is it my imagination, or does he really wear more stuff in red than Nancy Reagan?
    Yew betcha! – CTZen

  11. 11 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Bene D

    And if they didn’t investigate his moms story, others certainly will.

    Looks like that’s already in progress.

    I can see her point with massaging her story — it’s a compelling story, and so appealing to the prolife crowd that they’ll pay to hear her tell it — but I can never understand how these people think they won’t get caught in their little fibs eventually. The legal status of abortion in the Phillipines casts a pretty big shadow of doubt on her story — if true, her doctor risked his license to practice.

  12. 12 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Bina – My takeaway from it is that she wants women to ignore their doctors’ advice :shock:

  13. 13 JJ Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    CTZen – Maybe an Oprah show with moose-hunting instead of books?

  14. 14 Bleatmop Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    So long as the moose hunting comes from a helicopter, then I think Sarah would be in. Where’s the sport in facing moose and wolves on even ground?

  15. 15 Cornelius T.Zen Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Good morrow, JJ!
    Eh, ya never know with some of them there moose, eh? They could, like, come chargin’ outa the green room, and just send poor Sawah flyin, eh? Or, maybe some wolves could, like, hunt her down all around the studio, eh? I got yer sport huntin’ right here, eh?
    Cut to commercial! oh, never mind, fade to black…CTZen

  16. 16 Niles Monday, February 1, 2010 at 11:58 am

    So, just for sheer speculation, let’s say she’s faced with the “he couldn’t have legally advised you” angle and she counters with “yes he did anyway and he advised me, to leave the country to get it legally done, and that it would be a SMRT idea.”

    What part of any of this doesn’t involve her already having thrown said (whoever he/she was) physician ‘under the bus’ by making these pro-life claims despite alleged medical contra-indication? Is the doctor dead? Not practising anymore? Emigrated from the Phillipines? Liable for Phillipine legal charges on her repeated high profile sayso? Faced with a ‘s/he said/tebow said’ nightmare of defense now this has gone crusade mode?

    What are the odds someone in the pro-life ranks isn’t trying to ‘out’ the doctor for horrible anti-life punishment in a country where that punishment is really available (as opposed to eeeeeevil abortion doctors requiring noble martyrs willing to go to prison for killing the monster medicals) on the grounds being cited as proof she’s making shit up?

  17. 17 Bleatmop Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    More news on the pregnancy. Aparantly Mrs. O’Keefe had a placental abruption.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2243218


  1. 1 Canadian Cynic: I'm thinking that FotF Super Bowl ad could have had better timing. Trackback on Friday, November 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

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