Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh: Have the courage to let the unborn be born

·4 min read

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh lent his celebrity and his voice to an anti-abortion event on Sunday in Plymouth, sharing his reasoning why he's against abortion.

According to the Detroit Catholic publication, Harbaugh and his wife, Sarah, were speakers at the Plymouth Right to Life event at the Inn at St. John's, designed to raise money for several anti-abortion charities and programs in southeast Michigan.

“In God’s plan, each unborn human truly has a future filled with potential, talent, dreams and love,” Harbaugh said. “I have living proof in my family, my children, and the many thousands that I’ve coached that the unborn are amazing gifts from God to make this world a better place. To me, the right choice is to have the courage to let the unborn be born.”

The abortion debate has been reignited across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, sending the issue back to individual states.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watched his team warm up before the Orange Bowl against Georgia on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watched his team warm up before the Orange Bowl against Georgia on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Abortions are currently legal in Michigan because a state judge in May issued an injunction against a 1931 law allowing the procedure only when "necessary to preserve the life" of the pregnant.

Sharing the stage with the Rev. John Riccardo, founder of Acts XXIX, a Catholic organization designed to support other clergy, Harbaugh spoke of the courage necessary to stand up for one's beliefs.

“I believe in having the courage to let the unborn be born,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Catholic. “I love life. I believe in having a loving care and respect for life and death. My faith and my science are what drives these beliefs in me."

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The U-M coach has not shied away from political stances during his tenure in Ann Arbor. During the beginning of the Colin Kaepernick controversy, Harbaugh first said in 2016 he didn't "respect the motivation or the action." He later called Kaepernick a hero and hosted his former Super Bowl quarterback to a throwing exhibition during U-M's spring game in April.

In 2017, Harbaugh spoke in Washington about his involvement with the Legal Services Corporation, addressing the access to justice for low-income Americans.

In 2020, Harbaugh spoke out against the death of George Floyd, the Black man killed by a police officer kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis. He also attended an anti-police brutality march in Ann Arbor a few days later.

Sarah Harbaugh, who spoke after her husband and Riccardo, said Sunday there is some thought that their abortion stance may impact the Wolverines on the recruiting trail, but the couple is not worried about it.

“During halftime of a game, talking with the players, I say they are here because they have chosen to be here,” Jim Harbaugh said according to the publication. “If someone believes in what they stand for, they are choosing to stand for that position, and what kind of person are you if you don’t fight tooth and nail for what you stand for? You get to change hearts by fighting for what you stand for.”

Jim Harbaugh goes over pass routes with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at halftime of the Michigan spring game April 2, 2022 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Jim Harbaugh goes over pass routes with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at halftime of the Michigan spring game April 2, 2022 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Harbaugh — the father of seven including Jay, one of his assistant coaches at U-M —  said his views on abortion were shaped by his own parents

“Passions can make the process messy, but when combined with respect, it ultimately produces the best outcomes,” Harbaugh said according to the Detroit Catholic. “This process has been passionate and messy, but I have faith in the American people to ultimately develop the right policies and laws for all lives involved. I recognize one’s personal thinking regarding morality of a particular action may differ from their thinking on whether government should make that action illegal. There are many things one may hold to be immoral, but the government appropriately allows because of some greater good or personal or constitutional right."

Harbaugh then said while the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn child may conflict, the "resolution" should be in favor of the fetus:

One resolution might involve incredible hardship for the mother, family and society. Another results in the death of an unborn person."

Between the dinner, auction of Michigan football items and other prizes, and other donations, some $144,000 were raised at the sold-out event. One person reportedly pledged $2,300 to catch a pass in the ballroom from Harbaugh.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at Plymouth anti-abortion benefit