On Sunday (July 17), University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh joined his wife, Sarah, and Fr. John Riccardo on stage for a question and answer session during the Plymouth Right to Life dinner and auction. Harbaugh and Riccardo were the event’s keynote speakers.
Harbaugh, who has coached Michigan’s Big Ten football team since 2015 and is Catholic, shared with the sold out crowd that it takes courage to stand up for and follow one’s convictions in today’s culture, which often cancels famous people who go against it.
Quoting Jeremiah 1:5, which says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations,” the coach expressed, “I believe in having the courage to let the unborn be born. I love life. I believe in having a loving care and respect for life and death. My faith and my science are what drive these beliefs in me.”
The former NFL first round drafted quarterback (1987) shared that his parents instilled a pro-life conviction in him when he was young. That pro-life stance has helped the father of seven in his relationships with his children, as well as with those with whom he works at the University of Michigan.
Harbaugh spoke about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the abortion laws in the state of Michigan, saying, “Passions can make the process messy, but when combined with respect, it ultimately produces the best outcomes. 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,” he continued. “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 said, “Ultimately, I don’t believe that is the case with abortion. Yes, there are conflicts between the legitimate rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn child. One resolution might involve incredible hardship for the mother, family, and society. Another results in the death of an unborn person.”
Being pro-life means more than just stopping abortion, Harbaugh said. It means supporting programs that assist mothers and families and reaching out to expecting mothers to provide assistance.
“In God’s plan, each unborn human truly has a future filled with potential, talent, dreams and love,” Harbaugh explained. “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 coach’s wife shared that her parents were also a huge influence on her pro-life convictions, recalling that when she was young, they would pray outside Planned Parenthood.
“I feel my mom was a big influence for me, both my parents talked about protecting the unborn,” she said. “I have friends, even family, who have considered abortion or had an abortion, and I know they are not better for it. If we had more support for women, more people who knew what really happens, we would be in a different place on this issue.”