As you may have already heard, CBS is planning (at least so far) to air a commercial featuring Tim Tebow of college football fame and his mother Pam in which they discuss their joy over the decision not to terminate Tim’s life before it began. It’ll be shown amidst Super Bowl commercials and seen by millions, so this has already stirred up controversy… Women’s Media Group is fighting to keep it off the air, despite not having seen it yet.
I think it should air. Conversely, I think that if it were a commercial about the value of abortions used as birth control, I’d still argue that it should be allowed to air. It’s not about the topic of abortion that I care about, it’s about freedom of speech.
Remember back when Obama spoke to students via daytime television? That wasn’t so long ago. It incurred the wrath of Republicans, that Obama would force his liberal agenda on our schools! But of course, it wasn’t about the Democratic viewpoint but rather that we needed to advance the American educational system. Despite the fact that Obama made his entire speech freely available to parents, many tried to censor him because they were afraid of the message… even before they heard it. Sound familiar?
Our constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to all Americans, and the basic and obvious meaning of this freedom is the right to speak your opinion no matter what it is. It’s the same freedom that protects my blogs and yours from censorship (a freedom not everyone shares, if you’ve been following Google’s battle with China). It’s the same freedom that allowed Obama to appear on television to schools even though there was a lot of controversy over the idea.
So let’s not fight battles over what messages are received by television audiences – no matter what they are! If next year the pro-choice agenda airs their own commercial in response, we should allow that just as we should allow this one. Because every American has the right to be heard.