(CNSNews.com) – Retired Ravens center Matt Birk chose not to attend a Ravens team meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, citing his own pro-life views as a Catholic and criticizing the president’s support for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.
Birk is a six-time Pro-Bowler and was on the Ravens’ 2013 Super Bowl team.
In an interview on Thursday with KFAN radio in Minneapolis, Minn., Birk said: “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,” said Birk. “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.”
Back on Apr. 26, Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood conference and gala, the first sitting president to do so. In his remarks, Obama said, “As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a President who's going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way. (Applause.)
“Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you.”
According to Planned Parenthood’s annual report for 2011-12, the organization and its affiliated clinics performed 333,964 abortions in fiscal 2011, which averages one abortion every 94 seconds.