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Stop Anti-Choice Super Bowl Ad

January 25, 2010

Dear [INSERT CBS EXEC]:
This letter is in response to the reported CBS decision to air an anti-choice advertisement during Super Bowl XLIV, sponsored by the controversial organization Focus on the Family. As united organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice, we urge you to immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family’s agenda.
CBS has a well-documented history of prohibiting advocacy ads it deems controversial, rejecting ads from organizations such as PETA, MoveOn.org, United Church of Christ, and even ones that carry only an “implicit” endorsement for a side in a public debate. Last year, NBC made the prudent decision to not air anti-choice messages during the Super Bowl. CBS executives have indicated in the past that they would not air Super Bowl ads where “substantial elements of the community (are) in opposition to one another.” Abortion is a controversial issue and anti-abortion vitriol has resulted in escalated violence against reproductive health service providers and their patients, including the murder of Dr. George Tiller during Sunday morning service at his church. We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate.
Focus on the Family has waged war on non-traditional families, tried its hand at race baiting during the 2008 election, and is now attempting to use the Super Bowl to further ramp up the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding reproductive rights. By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will alienate viewers and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers. The decision to air this ad would be ethically, economically and politically disastrous for CBS. The content of this ad endangers women's health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom. Focus on the Family’s ad is surrealistic in its argument that a woman who chooses not to have a child may be depriving the Super Bowl of a football player. It uses one family’s story to dictate morality to the American public, and encourages young women to disregard medical advice, putting their lives at risk.
The Super Bowl is an entertainment event that brings people together regardless of background, faith, ideology or political affiliation. Focus on the Family’s ad goes against the approximately 70% majority American view that reproductive decisions should be left up to a woman and her physician; against the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that such decisions are protected by a constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy; and against the health needs of the 1 in 3 American women who will need an abortion at some time in her life.
Though women comprise only 9% of CBS’s board, they are a key constituency for the CBS network and 40% of Super Bowl viewers. If you contradict your policy and air this ad, you will be throwing these women under the bus. American values of privacy and freedom should be respected, not undermined during the Super Bowl. The last thing Americans need is CBS or its advertisers telling us how and when to have a family. CBS must take action now, by cancelling the airing of Focus on the Family’s ad.
completelyblatantselloutsCBS’s recent decision to air an anti-choice advertisement ad during Super Bowl XLIV was outrageous.  Even worse is the network’s about face after from its own policy of rejecting controversial Super Bowl ads.  The Women’s Media Center, and organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice, are urging the network to immediately cancel this ad (campaign page with list of partners forthcoming). LETTER TO CBS: This letter is in response to the reported CBS decision to air an anti-choice advertisement during Super Bowl XLIV, sponsored by the controversial organization Focus on the Family. As united organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice, we urge you to immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family’s agenda. CBS has a well-documented history of prohibiting advocacy ads it deems controversial, rejecting ads from organizations such as PETA, MoveOn.org, United Church of Christ, and even ones that carry only an “implicit” endorsement for a side in a public debate. Last year, NBC made the prudent decision to not air anti-choice messages during the Super Bowl. CBS executives have indicated in the past that they would not air Super Bowl ads where “substantial elements of the community (are) in opposition to one another.” Abortion is a controversial issue and anti-abortion vitriol has resulted in escalated violence against reproductive health service providers and their patients, including the murder of Dr. George Tiller during Sunday morning service at his church. We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate. Focus on the Family has waged war on non-traditional families, tried its hand at race baiting during the 2008 election, and is now attempting to use the Super Bowl to further ramp up the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding reproductive rights. By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will alienate viewers and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers. The decision to air this ad would be ethically, economically and politically disastrous for CBS. The content of this ad endangers women's health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom. Focus on the Family’s ad is surrealistic in its argument that a woman who chooses not to have a child may be depriving the Super Bowl of a football player. It uses one family’s story to dictate morality to the American public, and encourages young women to disregard medical advice, putting their lives at risk. The Super Bowl is an entertainment event that brings people together regardless of background, faith, ideology or political affiliation. Focus on the Family’s ad goes against the approximately 70% majority American view that reproductive decisions should be left up to a woman and her physician; against the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that such decisions are protected by a constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy; and against the health needs of the 1 in 3 American women who will need an abortion at some time in her life. Though women comprise only 9% of CBS’s board, they are a key constituency for the CBS network and 40% of Super Bowl viewers. If you contradict your policy and air this ad, you will be throwing these women under the bus. American values of privacy and freedom should be respected, not undermined during the Super Bowl. The last thing Americans need is CBS or its advertisers telling us how and when to have a family. CBS must take action now, by cancelling the airing of Focus on the Family’s ad. Sincerely, Abortion Access Project ACCESS/Women's Health Rights Coalition, Women, Action & the Media Advocates for Youth Alternet By Any Media Necessary California Council of Churches IMPACT CAMI project Choice USA Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP)/Hampshire College CODEPINK Equality Now Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) Feminist Press HollabackNYC Ibis Reproductive Health Law Students for Reproductive Justice MAMAPALOOZA! Media Equity Collaborative Medical Students for Choice! Ms. Foundation New Prospect Family Praise and Worship Center National Organization for Women (NOW) NOW-NYC OpEd Project Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health Religious Institute RH Reality Check Sisterhood is Global, Inc SisterSong The White House Project Third Wave Foundation Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) Women In Media & News Women's Campaign Forum Women's Information Network (WIN) Women’s Media Center Individuals Kate Michelman, Former President, NARAL Pro-Choice America Shira Tarrant, PhD, Author and Professor Frances Kissling, Center for Bioethics, UPenn Linda Lowen, womensissues.about.com Kate Goldwater, AuH2O Eco-friendly feminist fashion Katha Pollitt, writer Deanna Zandt, Media technologist and author Alida Brill, Feminist Joanne Bamberger, Punditmom.com Barbara Glickstein, RN, MPH, MS Donna Lilly, AAUW California Past President 2006-2008 Anna Clark, Detroit, MI, Journalist Patricia DeGennaro Norma Jo Waxman MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Waxman, Norma Jo ...List in development DontSitontheSidelines Click here to learn more about the campaign to Stop Anti-Choice Super Bowl Ad.

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