Since I posted about the Tim Tebow anti-choice
Scrutinize Your Focus on the Family ad that is scheduled to air during the Super Bowl, I have found out some more disturbing information.
Mrs. Tebow claims that she was told to get an abortion while pregnant in the Philippines, where she and her husband do missionary work. In fact, they run an orphanage there. But, abortion is and has been illegal in the Philippines. Making abortion illegal does not reduce abortions. It just makes them more deadly.
According to this UN Humanitarian Affairs report:
there are an estimated 560,000 cases of induced abortions per year, resulting in some 90,000 women being hospitalised for post-abortion care; and about 1,000 deaths a year in the island nation.
Most of these women are already mothers. Their children are much more likely to die before the age of 12 without a mother. It also makes them more likely to need to go to an orphanage. Like the one the Tebows run, out of the kindness of their Christian hearts.
But, it is the Christian religion* that is contributing to the orphan problem in the Philippines. According to this 2006 Guttmacher report (pdf) on Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion in the Philippines:
At the same time, weak government support for modern contraception and the insistence of the Catholic Church on natural family planning methods contribute to low levels of modern contraceptive use and persistent reliance on less effective methods. Many women use no family planning method at all.
I am all about the middle ground on this issue. I don’t have a problem, like some reproductive rights activists do, with saying I want abortion to be rare. I know it’s hard to discuss something with nuance, but that doesn’t necessarily say it’s because it’s an evil procedure. Unintended pregnancy is the problem. No one wants to be in that situation. The only way to prevent it, experts say in so many places I won’t even bother to link it, is by increasing the autonomy of the women in the community: access to affordable effective contraception and abortion without shame, education, microloans, and the like.
Making abortion illegal and letting them die, bleeding in the hallways of hospitals or in their beds, surrounding by their surviving children, is not pro-life. How can members of the same party who houses Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, also align themselves with groups like Focus on the Family? The supporters of this ad, Focus on the Family and their socially conservative hardline choir, think talking about the poor as breeding stray animals who don’t know any better with unconcealed contempt is compatible with calling the birth control and the IUD “a chemical assault and destruction of some unborn?”.
Let’s reduce abortions, spontaneous or medical. Let’s reduce death. Let’s reduce the number of orphaned children. Let’s prevent unintended and intended pregnancy losses. Effective, affordable contraception is the best way to do this.
*I am not anti Christianity, nor anti all Christians. My family is all quite religious, most of them practicing that religion as pro-life, socially conservative Presbyterians. We don’t see eye to eye on this issue. I was tipped off about the disconnect between Mrs. Tebow’s claims and the reality of reproductive care and maternal mortality by someone who went to Catholic school with my husband. I am off to a celebration of a Catholic christening today of a boy at whose birth I was the doula.
Religion, to me, is personal. That is why I support conscience clauses for health care practitioners, and (edited to correct major typo!) STRONGLY OPPOSE one-child only laws, and forced abortions or forced sterilizations. But, when it comes to maternal mortality and public health, I don’t think religion has a place in the discussion. Any group that would worship a god that thinks maternal mortality isn’t a higher priority than their rules about sex and reproduction isn’t someone I want at the table. They can preach to their choir all they want, and people can choose to observe in the way that is right between them and their deity(ies) of choice, or lack thereof.
Go to Emily’s List and sign their petition. This is what I wrote in the comment section:
1000 women died in the Philippines (where Tim Tebow was born, and his family does missionary work) in 2008 alone due to the unavailability of safe, legal abortion.
How many of the orphans at the Tebow’s orphanage had moms who died from the lack of contraception and legal, safe abortion there?
This is not something worth breaking your non controversy Super Bowl ad over.