By Elizabeth Tenety
As pro-life marchers gather Friday for their annual protest of the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, two famous college students are renewing the image of the anti-abortion movement.
Bristol Palin, daughter of former VP candidate Sarah Palin, and former Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow both made headlines this week for their pro-life activism: Palin, with a magazine cover story on “choosing life” for her son, and Tebow with the announcement that he will appear in a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl.
Does the pro-life movement need a facelift?
Journalist Sean Michael Winters, writing Thursday in the National Catholic Reporter, says that the pro-life movement must re-focus on changing the culture if it really wants to change lives.
“It is time to rethink pro-life strategy, and that rethinking must include new arguments aimed at persuading our fellow citizens, a new political and cultural approach to abortion itself,” Winters writes.
As if on cue, Palin and Tebow are taking their message to the masses.
Along with her son, mother and baby brother, Bristol, 19, appeared this week on the cover of In Touch Weekly under the headline “We’re Glad We Chose Life.”
Bristol and Sarah both experienced difficult pregnancies. In the story, Bristol and her mother recounted their trying circumstances -Bristol became pregnant when she was in high school and Sarah’s baby was diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome -but both also shared their joys.
“Tripp is the love of my life -I couldn’t ask for a better baby,” Bristol told In Touch.
“The last few years have been unreal and surreal,” Sarah Palin added. “A lot of people on the outside would look in and say, ‘Ugh, how can they handle one thing after another? It looks like they got clobbered left and right. But we look at it as, ‘No, God has richly blessed us with things that perhaps look less than ideal.”
That’s a message that Tim Tebow’s family wants to share as well, with Focus on the Family’s announcement that Tebow and his mother Pam will appear in a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl. According to the Focus press release, Tebow, no stranger to sharing his faith on camera, and his mother “agreed to appear in the commercial because the issue of life is one they feel very strongly about.”
When Tebow’s mother was pregnant with Tim, her fifth child, she contracted an amoeba, which severely dehydrated her and landed her comatose in the hospital. Mrs. Tebow’s physician recommended that she have an abortion, but she and her husband, both Christian missionaries in the Philippines, decided against the procedure. Her husband pleaded with God to let their son live.
“I just prayed, I said, ‘God if you want another preacher in this world, give him to me and I’ll raise him,’” said Bob Tebow to ESPN. “He’s a miracle baby.”
Bristol Palin and Tim Tebow speak to the pro-life position from experience. They both have a message that is more empathy than judgment. And it doesn’t hurt that both are young, happy and attractive.
Will it take more than Bristol Palin and Tim Tebow to revamp the pro-life movement? Does the pro-life movement need to be renewed? What, if anything, does it need? More religion or less? More political activism or less political grandstanding? Or more good-looking college kids stumping for the cause?