Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at anti-abortion event: ‘Have the courage to let the unborn be born’


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University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke out in support of the anti-abortion movement over the weekend, telling charity dinner attendees that pregnancies should be carried to term and that people should “gain the courage to let the unborn be born.”

Speaking at a fundraiser hosted by Plymouth Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization in Plymouth, Michigan, Harbaugh, one of college football’s most recognizable personalities, took the stage Sunday as a keynote speaker to reiterate his opposition to abortions in the weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Rowe vs. Wade.

“By God’s plan, every unborn person truly has a future filled with potential, talent, dreams and love,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Catholic, a news service for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. “I have living proof in my family, my children and the many thousands of people I have trained that the unborn are amazing gifts from God to make this world a better place. For me, the right choice is to muster up the courage and let the unborn be born.”

Harbaugh, a long-time anti-abortion Catholic, was joined by his wife Sarah and the Reverend John Ricciardo of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth to help raise money for several anti-abortion charities in southeast Michigan. Harbaugh, whose program in Michigan had the best year since he came to Ann Arbor and made his first American football playoff appearance last season, said his anti-abortion beliefs came from his parents. He said his views helped shape his relationships with children, players and staff.

“I love life. I believe in loving care and respect for life and death,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Catholic. “My faith and my science is what drives these beliefs in me.”

Harbaugh is one of the first major coaches or athletes to speak out in support of the anti-abortion movement after the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. Caviar June 24 – A move that resulted in 13 states initiating “trigger bans” designed to take effect once. Caviar was overturned, banning abortion within 30 days of the decision. Michigan is one of several states that do not applyCaviar abortion bans, which are now likely to be targeted in determining whether access remains legal.

A women’s clinic run by two generations of post-Roe braces women.

Abortion is still legal in Michigan due to an injunction in May by a state judge against a 1931 law that would only allow the procedure when “it is necessary to save the life of such a woman.” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state attorney general Dana Nessel, both Democrats, said they would not enforce the ban.

David Ablauf, a spokesman for the Michigan football program, told The Washington Post that Harbaugh was simply sharing his personal views, even if his opinion doesn’t favor the University of Michigan.

“Jim Harbaugh attended the event and shared his personal views as every citizen has a constitutional right to do so,” Ablauf said in a statement. “He shared his personal beliefs and did not speak for the university.”

Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the university, agreed that Harbaugh’s personal beliefs were not in favor of the school. Fitzgerald told The Post in an email that the University of Michigan’s position on abortion services remains “clear” and pointed to a statement issued following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: “The University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine remain committed to providing high quality, safe reproductive care to patients for all their reproductive health needs.”

Harbaugh’s comments met with backlash from critics on Tuesday, including from FS1 Joy Taylor, who pointed to the coach’s reference to “courage”.

“So women who have abortions are cowards?” she is asked.

Harbaugh was not afraid to share his opinions on a range of topics and social issues. After first saying he “didn’t respect the motivations or actions” of Colin Kaepernick during his protest against police brutality against blacks, he later hailed the quarterback as a “hero” and even set up a throwing exhibition for Kaepernick at a Michigan spring game. . in April.

Harbaugh later spoke out against the killing of George Floyd in 2020, condemning a police officer who knelt on a black man’s neck and sparked nationwide protests. The coach even participated in a protest in Ann Arbor days after Floyd’s death.

When it comes to abortion, Harbaugh is consistently opposed. In a podcast published by National Review in April 2020, Harbaugh called abortion “terrible”.

The coach reiterated his position on Sunday, noting that while the rights of the mother and the rights of the fetus may conflict, Harbaugh believes the choice should be in favor of the fetus. He thought again about what the last few weeks had been like in his eyes.

“Passion can make the process messy, but when combined with respect, it produces the best results in the long run,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Catholic. “The process has been passionate and messy, but I believe the American people will eventually develop the right policies and laws for all the lives involved. I acknowledge that one’s personal opinion about the morality of a particular action may differ from one’s opinion about whether the government should make that action illegal. There are many things that can be considered immoral, but the government appropriately permits them because of some greater good, personal or constitutional right.”

During her speech at the event, Sarah Harbaugh acknowledged that the couple’s position can affect recruiting. But the family stressed that they were speaking “for the right reasons.”

“During the break of the game, talking to the players, I say that they are here because they decided to be here,” Jim Harbaugh said, according to local media. “If someone believes in what he stands for, he chooses to defend this position, and what kind of person are you if you do not fight tooth and nail for what you stand for? You can change hearts by fighting for what you stand for.”

Jemele Hill, a correspondent for The Atlantic, was among those who questioned Harbaugh’s motivation and approach to a problem that remains unresolved for millions of Americans.

“It can be a difficult concept for Jim Harbaugh, anyone who is against choice… but if you don’t want to have an abortion, just don’t have it,” she said. tweeted. “It’s not that hard.”

Donors have donated an estimated $100,000 in pledge to the Plymouth Right to Life, according to a Detroit Catholic. Among these donations was a pledge of $2,300 so that the donor could obtain a ballroom pass from Harbaugh.

Kim Bellver contributed to this report.

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