Football, abortions and moles

I am sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I am prochoice. But before I say anything else, I feel the need to say that I respect people who are prolife. My parents were passionately prolife. To an extent, I understand where the prolife side is coming from. Some people believe that life begins at conception. I get it. I don’t agree with you. I will do everything (legally) in my power to keep abortion legal, but I get it.

But I am going to argue that even those of you who are prolife should be angered by the Tebow Superbowl publicity. Because it is manipulative, dangerous and has nothing to do with actually aborting a fetus.

First of all, here is the ad that aired during the Superbowl.

Really, it’s just a mom saying she loves her son. No big deal. But against my better judgment, I went to the Focus on the Family website to see the full story (I couldn’t find the longer video on Youtube, and I don’t want to link to those guys.  If you are curious, you are just going to have to go there yourself).

But here is the story. Mr. and Mrs. Tebow were off on a mission in the Philippines saving the savages from themselves. Mrs. Tebow gets pregnant and goes to a doctor who tells her that basically, she wasn’t pregnant with a child at all,  it’s “just a clump of cells” and that she should abort to save her life. Being a good Christian, she decides she would rather die than abort. She and her family pray and pray, and 9 months later, a miracle occurred: Timothy is born. On the video, they then make a tearful plea to girls to “not kill their babies.”

Ok. Here is my interpretation at what happened. Mr. and Mrs. Tebow deliberately left a country that arguably has the most advanced medical facilities in the world. In the middle of a remote location in a poor country, they go to the doctor, and what they get is…a misdiagnosis. The doctor was telling them that she had a molar pregnancy. Obviously, she didn’t. But if she had been in the states or if she had gotten a second opinion, she probably could have gotten a correct diagnosis.

The reason why I find this ad so infuriating is because molar pregnancies can be very, very dangerous. And the pregnancy doesn’t involve a child at all. Molar pregnancies are very rare, but it is essentially  when egg meets sperm a malformation occurs. There is no heart or brain. It’s a tumor – not a child! The reason why they are so dangerous is because the body thinks it’s pregnant, and begins to nourish the tumor.

I think it is completely disgusting to argue that you shouldn’t abort in a situation like this. God is not going to magically transform your tumor into a quarterback. This woman was lucky only because she never had a molar pregnancy in the first place. Otherwise, Mrs. Tebow might have died, and her four other children would be left motherless.

So, in honor of Mr and Mrs Tebow, I made a donation to Planned Parenthood. And I am rooting for the Saints.

Update: I jumped the gun a bit in this post. K, in the comments, pointed out that I had come to the wrong conclusion about what was going on. In the video, Mrs Tebow says that the doctor told her that the pregnancy “was just a bunch of cells.” That sounded like a molar pregnancy to me which is what inspired this post. But what happened was that she had amoebic dysentery and was treated with drugs that resulted in placental abruption.

In light of that, I find the doctor’s statement that the pregnancy was “just a bunch of cells” really mysterious. Would an ob really say that to a woman who was faced with having to terminate a pregnancy that she really wanted? That would be just extraordinarily insensitive.

At any rate, placental abruption is also very dangerous for the mother. I stand by my comments that women shouldn’t be shamed for terminating a dangerous pregnancy. Also, they shouldn’t be misled into thinking that their lives will be miraculous saved either. The God that I worship expects me to exact a little bit more common sense.


8 thoughts on “Football, abortions and moles

  1. I don’t disagree with your point, but I do want to note that Pam Tebow was not misdiagnosed with a molar pregnancy (I couldn’t find the same info you found on the FoF website, and I don’t want to sit through any of their damn videos). According to interviews she’s given, she contracted amoebic dysentery and fell into a coma, during and after which she was treated with drugs that the doctors believed damaged the fetus. And after that, she suffered a placental abruption.

    Your point is totally valid, particularly as regards the placental abruption — that is exactly the sort of life-threatening condition that prayer is not going to do jack about. Prayer isn’t magically going to either reverse an abruption or undo the damage done to the fetus from the abruption.

    William Saletan made much the same point you did here:

    “Placental abruption has killed thousands of women and fetuses. No doubt some of these women trusted in God and said no to abortion, as she did. But they didn’t end up with Heisman-winning sons. They ended up dead.”

  2. Hi k,
    What confuses me about this is that on the video (and I don’t blame you for not wanting to sit through it) she says the doctor told her that it was “just a clump of cells” and that she should abort to save her life. That’s what I interpreted as a molar pregnancy.

    She does mention the placenta abruption at the end. But nothing about falling into a coma.

    Oh, who knows? If you have a molar pregnancy, please listen to your doctor.

  3. Yeah, I think that’s probably what she heard when they told her that the medications they gave her (to save her life when she contracted amoebic dysentery) damaged the fetus to the extent that it was no longer viable. Which, yeah, certain powerful drugs will cause such severe cellular damage in a fetus as to make it “a clump of cells,” I guess.

    But you’re right, either way — if your doctor tells you you have a molar pregnancy or that you are going to die because of placental abruption, listen to her. Because if you don’t, not only will your unborn child die, but you might too, and you’ll leave your other children without a mother. I hate to call that a selfish choice, but, well, it is.

  4. Well, frankly, if she said what you heard on the video, there may be other women who are misled and might make the same choice when they do actually have a molar pregnancy: “Oh, gosh, well Tim Tebow’s mom said her doctors told her her baby was just a clump of cells, and look at what happened to her! I’ll just pray my baby is OK.”

    I mean, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the Tebows sharing their story on TV, in the sense that I think it’s valid for women to hear that they have CHOICES and that the choice is THEIRS. But when that story is told in a way that is misleading or encourages women to risk their lives for a baby that isn’t a baby…well, I have issues with that.

  5. I am prolife, but like you, I respect the other side. I grew up around people who are prochoice and I think it is really important to understand where people who disagree with us are coming from. Otherwise it is easy to stereotype or put them in the category of “insensitive” or “ignorant” or “unintelligent” or just “crazy.”

    I saw the ad and saw nothing wrong with it (aside from the fact that it was a weird superbowl ad). I did not find it inappropriate or it’s message to be inapproprite or misleading. I mean in a one minute ad through which you are trying to reach a target audience with your message, you don’t have time to give a whole disclaimer. Most ads involve a lot of puffery- obviously people who face life threatening issues are not going to rely on this ad to make a decision, they are going to seek medical advice. It’s just the same as any organization- they are paying for an add and are trying to get their message across in the most impactful way so people who are interested will go and learn more about their cause.

    Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to advertise how many “fetuses” are “killed” each year in their ads… it’s about marketing and campaigning for a cause- not to give a complete set of options for women and not to diagnose medical conditions.

  6. Hey Cee,

    I’m not sure if I was clear, but I don’t have a problem with the ad that was shown at the Superbowl. My problem is with the extended video on the Focus on the Family’s web site. I watched a couple of times now, and I really believe they are encouraging women with high risk pregnancies to not have abortions, even against medical advise. I’m sure you are right, no one is going to make a choice on that alone, but I am still against the message.

  7. Great post. I didn’t look at the youtube vids, can’t stomache that kind of crap. We have an election on at the moment here in South Australia and the place is littered with campaign posters for the ‘stop abortion’ party. We’ve never had this kind of thing before, and only in recent years have we had strong candidates from religious organisations. Its a scary trend. At the same time I’m noticing how many of these prolife posters are being defaced with prochoice graffiti!
    As a mother of five daughters aged 16-2 I’ve had to give some serious talks while out driving.

    Some interesting questions have come up. LIke what will happen if these guys actually get a seat? Shudder.

    keep on blogging Momma 🙂

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