A few weeks ago, I wrote about college football star Tim Tebow's upcoming Super Bowl ad that will likely tell us about his mother's complicated pregnancy in the Philippines and her refusal to get an abortion despite her doctors' advice. In the post, I argued that triumphal stories like the Tebows' obscure all the stories about women who die trying to obtain abortions.
William Saletan at Slate brought up another good point, (and I very, very rarely agree with Saletan when he writes about abortion) in his Human Nature column yesterday. Pam Tebow could have very easily died, and many women die from the condition she had.
On Sunday, we won't see all the women who chose life and found death. We'll just see the Tebows, because they're alive and happy to talk about it. In the business world, this is known as survivor bias: Failed mutual funds disappear, leaving behind the successful ones, which creates the illusion that mutual funds tend to beat market averages. In the Tebows' case, the survivor bias is literal. If you're diagnosed with placental abruption, you have the right to choose life. But don't be so sure that life is what you'll get.
It just underscores the point that abortion is, more than anything, about maternal health.
-- Monica Potts
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