Anti-abortion extremists ruin everything — and not just what should have been a visit to Planned Parenthood for a super-fun Pap smear.
Forty cities across the United States could air graphic anti-choice commercials depicting bloody, aborted fetuses during pigskin’s holiest of days, the Super Bowl. The ads would be paid for by Randall Terry, who runs an extremist anti-abortion group called Operation Rescue and is also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. The ads will obviously be graphic in content, which is usually a no-no. But stations cannot deny Randall Terry from airing them due to a Federal Election Commission rule that forbids candidates’ ads from airing within 45 days of an election, including primary elections. He is now taking donations on his website to buy airtime for these graphic and emotionally manipulative commercials (which you can view on his web site, should it strike your fancy).
Sadly, Randall Terry’s bloody, aborted fetuses are not the first time Super Bowl Sunday airtime has been exploited for political gain.
In 2010, the conservative group Focus On the Family paid $2.5 million to air two commercials starring football player Tim Tebow during the game. Neither commercial mentioned the word “abortion,” but both alluded to Pam Tebow’s difficult pregnancy with Tim and how if she had terminated the pregnancy, which she had been advised to do by doctors, she would never have her son. Which is of course, true, but emotionally manipulative as all hell and especially cruel to anyone who has ever terminated a pregnancy due to medical reasons guarding the life of the mother.
Alas, it is not just anti-abortion folks that try to eke into the Super Bowl. Who can forget PETA’s near-constant fuckery with everything we hold dear? Last year, the animal rights group begged to air a commercial of women fellating vegetables and were told to kiss off.
Now, let me be clear about something: from a free speech point-of-view, I believe anybody should be able to air any ads for which they can pay. My attitude about offensive speech, whether it is books or ads or blather coming out of a politician’s mouth, is that is should always be allowed to exist. For instance, Le Boyfriend believes that Hilter’s autobiography shouldn’t be allowed to be published. I staunchly disagree. In my opinion, the best way to combat offensive speech is not by banning it, but by counter-balancing it with more enlightened speech. Sometimes that means buying ad space to counter that message; sometimes it just means seizing the opportunity as a teachable moment, both for viewers and for advertisers.
For instance, I hope that advertisers who scrape the bottom of the barrel for their douchey, sexist beer commercials listen when people get upset and aim for more witty fare next year. (Not holding my breath on that one.) If Randall Terry is able to air his commercials in any of these 40 cities, I sincerely hope it sparks a response from all abortion rights supporters, as well as people who may be against abortion but think shoving bloodied, aborted fetuses in peoples’ faces is in poor taste. (Then again, nobody ever accused anti-abortion extremists of exercising good taste.)
What do you think about this issue? Let us know in the comments.