Michigan's Harbaugh Says He'll Raise an Unplanned Child

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University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, who recently was one of two keynote speakers at an in-state pro-life fundraising event, said this past weekend that "we'll raise that baby" should someone in his family or program be involved with an unplanned pregnancy.

"Let's discuss it," Harbaugh told ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski as part of a wide-ranging interview conducted Saturday in Muskegon, during the team's summer tour of the state, adding: "I've told [them] the same thing I tell my kids, boys, the girls, same thing I tell our players, our staff members. I encourage them if they have a pregnancy that wasn't planned, to go through with it, go through with it. Let that unborn child be born, and if at that time, you don't feel like you can care for it, you don't have the means or the wherewithal, then Sarah and I will take that baby."

Harbaugh's wife, Sarah, also spoke at last week's Plymouth Right to Life event in Plymouth, Mich.

Jim Harbaugh has taken a more public stance on social issues in recent years, according to ESPN. He has voiced strong support for Colin Kaepernick, whom he coached with the San Francisco 49ers and made an honorary captain at Michigan's spring game earlier this year. And he spoke out after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, tweeting that justice must be "equal and fair for all" and attending an anti-police brutality in Ann Arbor a week after the killing.

Coaches being open about their abortion views is nothing new, though it can cause a stir depending on the specific situation — as the late Rick Majerus discovered while coaching men's basketball at Jesuit-led Saint Louis University in 2008.

From AB: Coach's Airing of Personal Beliefs Sparks Debate

Harbaugh, a practicing Catholic, visited the Vatican with his team during a 2017 tour of Italy.

"I believe in having the courage to let the unborn be born," Harbaugh said at the event last week, according to Detroit Catholic, the news service for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. "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."

Asked by ESPN about his comments at the event, Harbaugh said: "Faith, family, football ... those are my priorities. I just think that ... the abortion issue is one that's so big that it needs to be talked about. It needs serious conversation. What do you think? What do I think? What do others think?"

He added: "It's a life-or-death type of issue. And I believe in, and I respect, people's views. But let's hear them. Let's discuss them, because there's passion on both sides of this issue. So when you combine that with respect, that's when the best results come. ... [I'm] just contributing to that conversation and that communication, which I think is really important, in my opinion."

As pointed out by ESPN, the Supreme Court on June 24 overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. At the time, Harbaugh's boss, University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman, said: "I strongly support access to abortion services, and I will do everything in my power as president to ensure we continue to provide this critically important care."

Abortion is legal in Michigan, though a 1931 law bans abortions unless ending the pregnancy is considered necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. The law was never repealed when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has filed a lawsuit to prevent enforcement of the ban, according to ESPN.

Said Harbaugh: "Any player on our team, any female staff member or any staff member or anybody in our family or our extended family ... that doesn't feel like after they have a baby they can take care of it, we got a big house. We'll raise that baby."


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