Graphic abortion ad during the Super Bowl?
By Jill Stanek
December 01, 2010
For only three hours a year do Americans actually look forward to watching commercials rather than ignoring them, muting them or running to the bathroom during them, as we do the other 8,763 hours.
That is during the Super Bowl.
In fact, commercials have become part of the entertainment during football's annual big game, a cultural phenomenon.
So imagine a 30-second Super Bowl ad showing the graphic reality of abortion.
Most Americans, including many pro-lifers, would abhor such an ad.
But pro-life activists like me would be ecstatic, if such a word can be used to describe fulfillment of a passion to see a multitude of people face the truth about abortion. Activists believe that only by understanding the reality of abortion will the culture be wholeheartedly persuaded against it.
And the publicity, oh, the publicity. Recall the controversy surrounding Focus on the Family's pro-life pablum Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow earlier this year. This would be that on gigamegalo-steroids.
And there is a chance such a commercial will air during the 2012 Super Bowl.
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But let me back up.
This past spring, pro-lifer Missy Smith decided to run against pro-abort Democrat District of Columbia incumbent Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton for one reason: To air graphic abortion ads on television.
Smith was taking advantage of a federal law that forces network stations to run such ads, uncensored. As Politico reported in October:
"Much as broadcasters may be repulsed by these graphic images and are sensitive to their viewers, federal law requires stations to air the spots," Allbritton general counsel Jerry Fritz wrote in an e-mail.
Fritz cited a similar 1992 Georgia case in which an anti-abortion candidate, Daniel Becker, sought to run a similar ad on an Atlanta station.
"The station asked the FCC for permission to channel the spot into time periods when children would be less likely to be in the audience – late night. Other broadcasters joined in and asked the commission for the right to refuse the spot altogether," Fritz e-mails. "The FCC gave permission to permit the channeling, but Becker appealed. The D.C. Court of Appeals found for the candidate in a 1996 decision."
The reason, per Fritz: The Communications Act requires broadcast stations to sell "reasonable amounts" of ad time to qualified federal candidates, and bars stations from making any changes to those spots, in what's known as the "no censorship" provision.
In all, Smith raised enough money to air two graphic abortion ads a whopping 355 times on network and cable television stations in the metro-D.C. area, which included parts of Virginia and Maryland.
Along the way, Smith garnered scads of free national and international press focused on the fact that abortion graphically murders children.
Smith's recruiter and mentor was pro-life activist Randall Terry.
Terry and Smith have decided Smith's campaign was so effective they want to recruit 25 like-minded congressional candidates in the country's top 25 media markets to run in the 2012 election cycle. By so doing, one-third of the nation could be educated on the horror and reality of abortion, says Terry.
I'm excited about this. I know Smith got calls from pro-lifers around the country during her campaign interested in duplicating what she did. There is great potential.
One positive of a consolidated effort would be the duo's plan to create one or two excellent ads for all 25 candidates to air (with their own voiceovers and taglines). They recognize Smith's ads weren't the greatest quality, although she did the best she could with the time and resources she had. Utilizing the same ads would ensure quality control and accuracy as well as conserve resources. We also discussed the need for ads to focus more on abortions of younger babies.
Another positive would be the vetting process. Smith and Terry agree they would rather promote zero candidates than candidates who aren't credible and articulate.
Smith and Terry are hosting an instructional/recruitment meeting on January 2 in D.C. Find out more at www.missysmith2010.com, where you can also view Smith's graphic campaign ads.
Now, back to the Super Bowl.
Terry is considering a run for president specifically with the goal to air a graphic abortion ad during the big game in 2012. Terry's back-up plan if unable to raise enough funds, estimated at $2.5-3 million, would be to run his ad during either the AFC or NFC championship game two weeks prior.
This one I'm a little more hesitant about, although a lengthy conversation with Terry alleviated many of my misgivings.
One is Terry's penchant for showmanship, but he assured me 100 percent of his ad would be dedicated to the atrocity of abortion.
Another is a concern for financial accountability, particularly for what may be a massive amount of donations. The names on Terry's finance committee would be critical here.
Misgivings aside, running a graphic abortion ad during the Super Bowl would indeed be a pro-life activist's "coup de grace," as Terry said.