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Birk boycotts White House visit over abortion issue


Plenty of members of the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl didn’t attend Wednesday’s visit to the White House, for plenty of reasons.

Some, like Anquan Boldin, are busy with their new teams. Others, like Bernard Pollard, have a stick stuck in a place where sticks don’t normally go. Still others, like Cary Williams, have better things to do, like making sure the tires on his bicycle have the recommended amount of internal air pressure.

Retired center Matt Birk passed for different reasons. Birk stayed away for political reasons.

I wasn’t there,” Birk told KFAN. “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.’ . . .

“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.”

Actually, President Obama didn’t say, “God bless Planned Parenthood.” He ended a speech to the group with the perfunctory, “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America.”

Some will see that as a distinction without a difference. And while, like Birk, I am Catholic and, like Birk, I don’t believe in abortion, Birk’s stance puts him on a slippery slope of logic that, taken to its extreme, could result in Birk renouncing his American citizenship.

Whether we like it or not (and Birk and I and many others personally don’t), abortion remains a legal procedure under certain circumstances in this country, falling within perceived (but not specifically articulated) Constitutional privacy rights.

So if traveling to the White House with a Super Bowl championship-winning football team “endorses” abortion, doesn’t living in a country that allows abortions to happen do the same thing?

While we respect Birk for sticking to his beliefs, it’s a shame that he would deny himself the once-in-a-lifetime experience of visiting the White House with his former teammates.

Share your thoughts on this below. I’ve got a feeling you don’t need an engraved invitation to do so.