BALTIMORE, June 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews.com) – For many athletes the chance to meet the president of the United States of America is a once-in-a-lifetime, never-to-be-missed opportunity. But not for Ravens Super Bowl champ Matt Birk.
Birk, who earned his Super Bowl ring earlier this year as a center with the Baltimore Ravens, told KFAN-FM this morning that he decided to skip a meet-and-greet with President Obama over the president’s support for Planned Parenthood.
“About five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood,’” Birk told the radio station. “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that."
The football star said that while he has "great respect for the office of the president," he "couldn't endorse" the president's support for the country's top abortion organization "in any way."
"I'm very confused by [the president's] statement," said Birk. "For God to bless a place where they're ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend."
Obama made the "God bless Planned Parenthood remark" at the conclusion of his speech to a Planned Parenthood conference in April. The speech put Obama in the books as the first sitting president to address the abortion organization.
Most of the rest of Birk's teammates met with the president at the White House yesterday.
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This is not the first time that Birk has been outspoken on social issues, standing up for traditional values.
In a previous interview he described holding his daughter for the first time. “It was unbelievable the love that I felt for her,” he said, “and any parent knows exactly what I’m talking about. At that point, you know it’s not a choice. Life is a gift that’s given to us. We are supposed to accept it. It’s not our choice whether we decide a baby lives or not.”
He told Catholic Review that participating in the March for Life in Washington is "one of the coolest things I’ve done.”
“It seems like our society and media want to push pro-lifers to the side and hope that we would shut our mouths and go away quietly,” he added. “Let’s not do that.”
Last October Matt Birk made headlines when he weighed in on the gay marriage debate, defending traditional marriage.
“My hope is that, by adding my voice to this discussion, I encourage the majority of Americans who do agree that it’s not the state’s place to redefine marriage to speak up with truth and respect,” he said at the time. “Bonding one man and one woman together through marriage helps connect both moms and dads to their kids; that’s why the state cares about marriage in the first place. Society should always be looking for ways to strengthen marriage, rather than redefine it.”
He also addressed his pro-life views in an interview with The National Catholic Register, saying:
You may not be able to save thousands of lives on your own, but the one life you can save today does mean a lot.
Whether it’s teaching our own children to be pro-life, contacting our elected representatives or working at crisis-pregnancy centers, we can all do something. These examples are in addition to prayer, which everyone can do and which everyone should do. Prayer is the basis of any good action. Each little effort helps to bring about a culture of life, a culture in which children are appreciated rather than disposed of.
I spoke at a pro-life rally in Maryland a couple years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. I heard other speakers, including women who deeply regretted their own abortions. Their work, carried out through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, was very persuasive. It wasn’t just a theoretical discussion; it was real women who had experienced the trauma of losing a child through abortion. They wanted to prevent other women from going through that same thing.
If people were told the truth about abortion, no one would ever seek out the procedure. We hear about “choice” and “reproductive rights,” but no one is ever told by an abortionist, “I will kill your baby by ripping off its arms and legs.” The women from Silent No More let people know the facts so that better decisions will be made. It’s very admirable work.