Offender: CBS Executives
Media Outlet: CBS
The Offense: During the Feb. 7 telecast of the Super Bowl, CBS will air an anti-abortion commercial produced and paid for by the ultra-conservative group Focus on the Family.
NOW’s Analysis: Focus on the Family has an aggressively anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, anti-woman agenda. This ad reportedly promotes the decision of one woman to go against her doctor’s advice to terminate an at-risk pregnancy. While NOW would never disparage any woman’s reproductive choice, we believe that all women should be free to make the decision that is right for them. We also believe that this ad could potentially put women’s health and lives at risk by promoting ideology over medicine.
NOW President Terry O’Neil told the Associated Press that the planned ad is “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning.”
“That’s not being respectful of other people’s lives,” O’Neill said. “It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else’s.”
It’s important to note that the Super Bowl is the most watched television event each year, with a broad audience spanning all demographics. In the past, CBS has turned down other advocacy ads it deemed controversial, including ads from MoveOn.org and the progressive United Church of Christ.
Women are vastly under-represented in high-level decision making roles at the television networks (and pretty much all media outlets). Despite this disadvantage, NBC managed to make the right decision last year, refusing to run an anti-choice ad during the Super Bowl. Anti-abortion forces are on the offensive. They don’t want to help women make informed decisions — they want to, in the words of Focus on the Family, make abortion “both illegal and unthinkable.” We must stand up to their campaign to deny women their fundamental rights.
Thanks to our friends at the Women’s Media Center for alerting us to this outrageous move by CBS.
Take Action: Write to CBS and tell them what you think about their decision to air the Focus on the Family ad.
Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director