www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-matt-birk-skipped-white-house-visit-due-to-his-prolife-stance-20130606,0,4383788.story

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Matt Birk skipped White House visit because of his pro-life stance

Retired Ravens center took issue with President Obama's support of Planned Parenthood

By Aaron Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

3:20 PM EDT, June 6, 2013

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Retired six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk skipped the Ravens' visit to the White House because of his Catholic beliefs.

Specifically, Birk took issue with President Barack Obama's support of Planned Parenthood.

Birk is a staunch Catholic father of six children who's against abortion and has taken a strong pro-life stance. Birk has also spoken out in the past in favor of traditional marriage prior to same-sex marriage becoming legal last year in Maryland.

"I wasn't there," Birk told KFAN in Minnesota. "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. I'm very confused by [Obama's] statement. For God to bless a place where they're ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend."

At the close of his speech at a Planned Parenthood national conference in April, Obama said: "Thank you Planned Parenthood. God bless you, God bless America.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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