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Cecile Richards

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Women's Health -- Always a Political Football

Posted: 02/04/10 09:54 AM ET

Well, the good news for the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts is that probably more women know when the Super Bowl is this year than in decades ... who would have dreamed that the hottest topic in the women's health community would be a television ad to run in prime time during the biggest football game of the year?

By now, you've probably heard all about the ad that Focus on the Family, the ultimate far-right political group, is spending millions to run during the game. It apparently will feature college football player Tim Tebow and his mom talking about a deeply personal medical decision she made years ago: she decided to carry her high-risk pregnancy to term against medical advice, resulting in the birth of her Heisman Trophy-winning son, Tim.

People have been asking us at Planned Parenthood what we think about the ad and about Mrs. Tebow's decision. Though I haven't seen the ad, based on what we've heard, our answer is simple. Planned Parenthood respects the right of every woman to make medical decisions for herself.

Despite the fact that Focus on the Family's true agenda is to outlaw the right to legal abortion, with the rarest of exceptions -- Mrs. Tebow's story underscores the most basic right of women in America to be able to make the decision to continue or to terminate a pregnancy. Mrs. Tebow made the decision she felt was right for her, and that's what Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses, and other health professionals help women do every single day.

The truth is that women take decisions about their health very seriously. They consider their doctors' advice, they talk with their loved ones and people they trust -- including religious leaders -- and they carefully weigh all considerations before making the best decisions for themselves and their families. And that's the way it should be.

A couple of great friends of Planned Parenthood -- two terrific athletes -- have something to say about sports, families, and the importance of personal decision making. Take a look HERE as former college and professional football player Sean James and Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner respond to the Tebow Super Bowl ad.

Despite the intention of its far-right sponsors, the Tebow ad underscores the most basic truth -- women must be able to make personal and private medical decisions without government interference. I'm proud to live in a country that trusts women to make personal medical decisions that are their own.

 

Follow Cecile Richards on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilerichards