INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has an opinion and he’s sticking to it.
Earlier this month, Harbaugh spoke at an anti-abortion event, sharing his opinion that he is against abortion.
In an interview with ESPN last week while his team was on a tour of the state, he said he has told players and family members he would help with an unwanted pregnancy.
“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,” Harbaugh said to ESPN. “… 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.
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On Monday, during media day at Lucas Oil Stadium, he stuck by his public stance.
“In my opinion, it needs communication,” he said. “We need to talk about it. It’s too big an issue to not give real, serious consideration. What kind of person would you be if you didn’t stand up for what you believe in? And didn’t fight tooth and nail for it?
“I believe in letting the unborn be born.”
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This goes against the university’s policy following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade in June, when the university released a statement that said, in part: “The University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine remain committed to providing high quality, safe reproductive care for patients, across all their reproductive health needs. This includes abortion care.”
Then-U-M interim president Mary Sue Coleman said she cares about women’s rights and with the student population of more than half women will, “do everything in my power as president to ensure we continue to provide this critically important care.”
Dozens of U-M medical students walked out of their induction ceremony on Sunday to protest a keynote speaker who has anti-abortion views.
As one of the faces of the university, Harbaugh was asked if he has faced any pushback from higher-ups.
“One of the things I respect and love about the University of Michigan, they encourage people to share their opinions, they welcome it and there’s even forums for it,” he said. “There’s a university policy, I have a different view, but as I said, that’s what I respect and love about a place like Michigan.”
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Harbaugh brought four players to media days — Cade McNamara, Mazi Smith, DJ Turner and Erick All — many of whom said the team has an open dialogue about these sort of topics.
“I’m an advocate for women’s rights,” Smith said. “We don’t all have to think the same, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. It would be different if you had somebody going around telling people how it’s supposed to be.
“But they’re just telling you what they believe, and that’s all they can do is tell you what they believe whether you like it or not.”
Turner called the locker room an “open environment,” where everybody is allowed to speak freely without feeling like there is a right or wrong answer.
He said he enjoys that and that it doesn’t break the team apart, but by getting other points of views, helps bring people together.
“I think really just everyone respects one another’s decision,” McNamara said. “We have a really close team, we all respect each other, we all love each other. Really in my opinion and I’m sure the rest of the guys agree with me, whatever (someone) thinks or whatever somebody else’s opinion is, that’s theirs and they have the right to have that opinion.”
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