U-M coach Harbaugh urges people to 'get out there and vote' against Proposal 3

Jim Harbaugh, head football coach for the University of Michigan, presents Pope Francis with a team football helmet during the pope's general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on April 26, 2017. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Appearing on Paul W. Smith's radio show, Michigan football coach says unlimited abortion on demand 'is just unfathomable'

DETROIT — Fresh off a 52-17 victory for his Michigan Wolverines over the weekend, University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh took to the airwaves Nov. 7 to fight for another victory as Michiganians head to the polls on Nov. 8.

Appearing on the Paul W. Smith Show on WJR (950-AM) radio, Harbaugh — who made headlines in July for his strong pro-life views during a speech for a Plymouth-area pro-life fundraiser — urged listeners to reject Proposal 3, the so-called Reproductive Freedom for All constitutional amendment.

“There’s definitely nuance (when it come to the abortion issue), and I think Prop 3 is too extreme,” Harbaugh told the show’s host. “I think Prop 3 is abortion on demand, and I think Prop 3 is murdering babies.”

Harbaugh was joined on the radio program by Fr. John Riccardo, executive director of ACTS XXIX, who argued the proposal’s vague legal wording would open the door to unlimited abortion in Michigan and eliminate a host of common-sense restrictions on the practice.

“The actual (full text) proposal isn’t even on the ballot,” Fr. Riccardo said. “It’s only a portion of it. We just want to encourage everybody to actually read the entire proposal before they go to the polls.”

As a priest, Fr. Riccardo admitted people might assume where he stands on the issue of abortion, but said the issue of life isn’t a religious issue.

“One of the tragedies right now is that abortion has become something like a religious issue,” Fr. Riccardo said. “But this is not a religious issue. Abortion and other things like this are matters of careful thinking. It’s not a religious fact (that life begins at conception). It’s a scientific fact and a medical fact.”

If an unborn person is unworthy of rights, that sets a dangerous precedent for society, Fr. Riccardo added.

"If only some human beings are persons, then to whom do we give that kind of raw power to just arbitrarily decide who makes the cut and who doesn't with regards to the status of personhood?" Fr. Riccardo said. "We can see how dangerous it is to consider that only some of us are granted the status of personhood."

Harbaugh echoed Fr. Riccardo's sentiments.

“I agree wholeheartedly with everything you just said, Fr. John,” Harbaugh said. “Either we all have human rights, or nobody does. And by definition, we have the right to life, liberty and freedom — and the first one is life. I mean, all the other rights aren’t going to make any difference.”

Smith argued that even those who support abortion rights believe there should be some limits, which Proposal 3, as a constitutional amendment, would eliminate.

“To say abortion on demand right up through birth (should be legal) is just unacceptable to most people at this point,” Smith said. “(People) have to understand that a vote ‘yes’ (on Proposal 3) legalizes abortion at any time in any pregnancy for any reason.”

Harbaugh concurred, urging listeners to “get out there and vote” to ensure Proposal 3 doesn’t pass.

“To take a baby at nine months, I mean, it’s just unfathomable,” Harbaugh said. “So please, vote no on 3.”


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