This Choice USA Ad Is Supposed To Be Funny?

What Women Really Think
Oct. 4 2010 4:09 PM

This Choice USA Ad Is Supposed To Be Funny?

As Tracy Clark-Flory points out at Salon ’s Broadsheet today , Choice USA has a new ad making fun of Colorado’s "fetal personhood" initiative which is on the ballot in November and would effectively outlaw abortion by granting the rights of personhood to everyone from the very vague "beginning of biological development."

The video shows a pregnant woman going through the course of her day and being asked to pay for two-thirds of a restaurant bill and play doubles tennis by herself. Because, you know, her fetus is a person.

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I completely understand the left’s disapproval of fetal personhood initiatives.  I am pro-life, but these proposed laws even make me uncomfortable: They look like an end run around Roe v. Wade and they really don’t seem like the best way for pro-lifers to achieve their goals.

But this Choice USA ad is boringly unfunny.  It’s not offensive, or unfair, or even mean. It’s just THAT unfunny. And I think its snarkiness could actually backfire. By focusing on a character who is so hugely and obviously pregnant, you’re reminding the viewers that women who really are that pregnant have a pretty darn big-and pretty darn viable-baby in there. And don’t nearly full-term fetuses deserve some kind of protection? Let’s not forget that Scott Peterson was charged with two counts of murder when he killed his wife Laci and their son. Almost 40 states have " fetal homicide laws " that, excepting abortion, make it a crime to harm or kill a fetus. So, for example, if a drunk driver injures a pregnant woman and kills her unborn child, he or she can be charged with vehicular homicide.

No, the Colorado law doesn’t just focus on viable fetuses. And it’s an anti-abortion initiative, not a protect-babies-from-drunk-drivers-and-homicidal-maniacs initiative. But that doesn’t come through in the Choice USA ad. And frankly, what does come through makes them look a little cold-hearted. Those on the left like to complain that conservatives don’t care about the weakest among us.  But here the weakest are mere fodder for unfunny jokes.

Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.