The XX Factor

No One Wants To See a Really Truthful Ad About Abortion

Well, we’ve seen the Tebow ad and I guess we can see how it slipped past CBS restrictions on advocacy ads, as there was nothing even mildly controversial about it. But I wanted to respond to KJ’s post from late last week about a reluctance to see “soft-focus” ads on either side of the abortion issue.

KJ, you wrote that my idea for an ad-showing people going through their daily routines and then telling viewers “my mom chose life”-was disingenuous because it shows only one side, and that a truthful ad would have to show coat hangers and neglected poor kids. Well, yes, ads usually do show only one side of a story. You don’t see many obese people in McDonald’s ads, and those Bud Light commercials never end up with someone taking a field sobriety test. An ad that showed the pros and cons of life without legal abortion might not be pretty. But a truthful “pro-choice” ad wouldn’t be all gossamer and rainbows, either. Sure, it could show women who have been able to do more with their lives and careers because they were better able to plan their families. But if it were truthful, wouldn’t it also have to show an ultrasound of an abortion (like the one Abby Johnson claimed to see but likely never did)? Or maybe it can include a description of a partial-birth abortion or a testimonial from a woman whose baby was born alive after an attempted abortion and the clinic failed to help her.

I don’t come by my pro-life views easily. It’s impossible to go through life-or even through Target some days-without thinking, “My god, who let them have a kid?” or “OK, some people clearly should have abortions!” when you see some of the less-than-stellar examples of parenting that abound. But there are no easy answers. Women die in childbirth, and women die having (legal) abortions . Children are brought into the world by parents who aren’t ready for them, and children who could and would lead normal and wonderful lives are aborted. The truth is ugly, but it’s ugly on all sides.

Photograph of woman by Stockbyte/Getty Images.