Center for Reproductive Rights Raises Questions to CBS about Tebow Story, College Football Star Featured in Super Bowl Ad

Abortion Has Been Illegal in the Philippines for Over 100 Years, Even to Save Woman’s Life

(PRESS RELEASE) Highlighting the reality of the Philippines blanket ban on abortion, today the Center for Reproductive Rights sent a letter to CBS, calling on the network’s Standards and Practices Department to reconsider running a scheduled Super Bowl ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow, and sponsored by anti-choice group Focus on the Family. While the exact content of the advertisement has not been revealed yet, the commercial is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow’s pregnancy in 1987.  That story, reported in press outlets as far back as 2005, revolves around Mrs. Tebow living and working as a missionary in the Philippines while she was pregnant with Tim. Reportedly, doctors diagnosed her with a medical condition that endangered her health and pregnancy and advised her to have an abortion.

“If the Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad is based on the highly publicized Tebow story, then it raises a number of serious factual questions.  Abortion has been illegal in the Philippines for over a century—no exceptions,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “CBS recently announced that their policy for advocacy ads has evolved, easing restrictions.  Whatever the evolution, we are very concerned that the network would air an ad that recounts a story out-of-context and is paid for by an anti-choice organization. We strongly encourage CBS to pull the ad.”

Abortion was criminalized in the Philippines in 1870 and has been illegal in the country ever since. There are no exceptions to the law. Abortion is even prohibited when a woman’s life or health is in danger. Women are punished with imprisonment between two to six years if they obtain one. Doctors and midwives who directly cause or assist a woman in an abortion face six years imprisonment and may have their licenses suspended or revoked.

Because of the severity of the Philippines law, abortion is underground, making it unsafe, potentially deadly and highly stigmatized. Every year, more than 500,000 women in the country try to terminate their pregnancies.  In 2008 alone, criminal abortions resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 women and 90,000 more suffered complications.

Center for Reproductive Rights Letter to CBS >

Facts on Abortion in the Philippines >