Politics

Baltimore Ravens' Matt Birk Boycotts White House Visit Over Planned Parenthood

| by Michael Allen
article imagearticle image

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visited the White House on Wednesday, met President Obama and took a tour. 

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and a few of the players also met with First Lady Michelle Obama and some Chicago-area high school students.

However, the Ravens center Matt Birk boycotted the trip due to President Obama's speech to Planned Parenthood back in April.

Birk appeared on the "Power Trip Morning Show" on KFAN Sports Radio on Thursday to explain his absence.

"I wasn't there. I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood,'" said Birk.

"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. I couldn't endorse that in any way."

"I'm very confused by [the President's] statement. For God to bless a place where they're ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend," added Birk, who is now retired.

The speech that Birk was referring to was Obama's appearance at a Planned Parenthood Conference on April 23, according to WhiteHouse.gov.

While Obama did end his speech with "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America," he also recalled how Planned Parenthood provides other health care services such as cancer screening, birth control and preventive care for women who are uninsured or low income.

Obama described a woman named "Joyce" whom Planned Parenthood's "doctors helped catch an aggressive form of cervical cancer early enough to save her life."

He also mentioned another woman named "Courtney who has a disease that can leave women infertile. So in college, she turned to Planned Parenthood for access to affordable contraceptive care to keep her healthy. You didn’t just help her plan for a family; you made sure she could start one. And today, she's got two beautiful kids."

Sources: KFAN Sports Radio and WhiteHouse.gov