This weekend's Super Bowl is a time for celebration, camaraderie, and lots of unhealthy snacks. But five years ago, a pro-life Super Bowl ad from Focus on the Family featuring Tim Tebow convinced one pregnant woman not to go through with a planned abortion.
Susan Wood originally didn't want to go to the Super Bowl party that would show her the commercial that would change her life, but after discovering she was pregnant earlier that day and fighting with her boyfriend who insisted she have an abortion, she had to get out of the house.
The day was February 7, 2010 and Focus on the Family's "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life" commercial aired during the first quarter of the big game. Pam Tebow, mother of Heisman-award-winning quarterback Tim Tebow, told the story of her miracle baby.
"I wanted to be critical," Susan admitted. "I wanted to bash this horrible 'anti-choice' commercial. But as we watched, everyone agreed that it was a positive commercial with an encouraging message - not one of judgment or condemnation."
But Susan kept thinking about the commercial and how it related to her own situation. When she left the party, she immediately looked for the commercial online and found an accompanying interview on YouTube with Tim Tebow's parents where they described how they rejected a doctor's advice to abort their son due to medical complications. Although the original ad didn't mention the word "abortion" or present itself as an "in-your-face" anti-abortion commercial, Susan was guided to the message she needed to hear by the grace of God.
Susan talked with a Focus on the Family counselor who offered hope for the confused woman.
"It was so nonjudgmental," Susan said. "She offered advice but didn't tell me I was wrong. I kept thinking about what she wrote, and the commercial, and what Tim's mom said in the interview, and it all just spoke to my heart.
"I made the decision to keep the baby."
Avita Grace was born later that year and is now four years old. "The little girl loves frilly dresses and bows in her hair, coloring books and talking about Jesus," according to a report on the Focus on the Family website.
Susan admits that, while she was never a football fan, she was made aware of who Tim Tebow was only weeks earlier. The combination of events that led up to her decision to keep her baby would forever change her life, and Avita Grace is living proof that it was the best decision she could have made.
"I think about the commercial, Tim Tebow and the people from Focus daily," Susan recalls. "I am so grateful. If there hadn't been a Super Bowl commercial, if I hadn't been at the party, if someone had responded to my email in a different way ... I will never be able to express the gratitude and love that I feel."
A recent study shows that 64 percent of abortions are coerced, whether by a family member, the baby's biological father, lack of support from a social network, or even persuasion from an abortion center.
Another Super Bowl ad from Pampers this Sunday will focus on celebrating babies, stating that "every first is significant no matter how small they seem" - "[f]rom the first scan to the first cuddle." While the commercial isn't overtly pro-choice in nature, its message is important for any potential parents out there. Hopefully it can have the same impact as the Focus on the Family one had in 2010.