Matt Birk and the exercise of pro-life convictions

By Dave Andrusko

Recently retired Baltimore Ravens Center Matt Birk

Recently retired Baltimore Ravens Center Matt Birk

I’ve been out of the loop for a few days so I wasn’t able to comment last week about Baltimore Raven’s offensive lineman Matt Birk, an outspoken but gentlemanly pro-lifer, who chose not to accompany his Super Bowl-winning teammates to the White House to meet President Barack Obama.

His reason? Not out of a lack of respect for the office of the presidency, he told a sports station in Minnesota. “I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency,” Birk, who retired after the Super Bowl, told KFAN-FM. It was rather “about five or six weeks ago [when] our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.'”

“Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year,” Birk explained. “I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”

He explained further: “I’m very confused by [the President’s] statement,” adding, “For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”

Some sports commentators praised Birk for exercising his first amendment rights and/or his religious/pro-life convictions. Others were less understanding and a couple missed what Birk was saying altogether.

NRL News Today wrote about President Obama’s love fest with PPFA the day it occurred (“Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, and Kermit Gosnell: What did they know, when did they know it, and what did they do?”) So I understand perfectly why Birk responded as he did.

After tossing a verbal bouquet to the largest abortion provider in the United States, for good measure and as a gesture of his limitless solidarity, President Obama closed with, “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America.” To invoke God’s name’s—to call His blessings down on an organization that performs more than a quarter of all the abortions in the United States–make pro-lifers very, very unhappy.


The Washington Post covered Obama’s April 26 speech to PPFA a day in advance. Although most of the major media had paid little to no attention to the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the Post’s Juliet Eilperin took the occasion to mention that Obama would be the first sitting President to address PPFA at the same time she minimized what the West Philadelphia abortionist was on trial for: “Kermit Gosnell is facing criminal charges for conduct at his Philadelphia clinic.”

I’m guessing that Birk was outraged by other characteristics that go along with performing almost exactly 334,000 abortions a year. The bundle of money its political action arm poured into the President’s re-election. The gradual unfolding of the truth—that there are Planned Parenthood clinics that in their treatment of pregnant women do not come anywhere near its polished self-image of caring and compassion care.

So kudos to Mr. Birk for not going to the White House and doing so in way that was respectful to the office but clear in the reasons why he would not attend.