Matt Birk may not a household name. But the NFL Super Bowl champion is known for turning down the ultimate invitation for moral reasons. The former Baltimore Ravens center told over 300 Vitae Foundation supporters in St. Charles, Mo. on Tuesday night that when his White House invitation came in the mail, he had no qualms about turning it down.
“We win the Super Bowl and get invited to the White House. Then President Obama makes this asinine statement, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’ Two days later the invitation arrives in the mail. We had to RSVP,” Birk explained. “I have to be honest. I enjoy a spirited debate every now and then…but I had to make that decision. I had three daughters at that time. They know what he said; they know what goes on in Planned Parenthood. They know their mother is involved with (the pro-life) movement. I couldn’t support that.”
Growing up in Minnesota, Birk said he knew at a young age that abortion was wrong. About a mile from his boyhood home was the public library, and across the street was an abortion facility. When he asked and learned what happened there, he knew it wasn’t a good place.
“I know abortion is probably the greatest evil that we have in the world right now. Mother Teresa said, ‘If abortion is not a sin, then what is?’” Birk stated. “I don’t look at tonight being about abortion. I look at tonight being about the celebration of life and being grateful that an organization like Vitae exists.”
The Harvard graduate with a degree in economics studied up on Vitae, and called it an incredible organization. “They’re not only doing God’s work, they’re doing it in a very smart and effective way,” Birk stated.
Vitae Market Director Zip Rzeppa told the crowd at the St. Charles Convention Center that Vitae’s Right-Brain research has provided a much deeper understanding of the emotional dynamics that affect a woman’s decision to abort. These studies help Vitae develop messaging that is geared specifically to the woman with an unexpected pregnancy.
“We can deliver the right message that speaks to her in the right way, right where she’s at. This is breakthrough stuff, folks!” Rzeppa stated. “But believe me, we are fighting a war! And the biggest enemy is Planned Parenthood.”
Each day in the U.S. abortion kills 3,000 children in the womb. That is one horrific snapshot of our country that Vitae President Rob Rysavy shared with the crowd. He said that abortion mills have become places of worship for the secular cult of “women’s reproductive freedom.”
“With your help, the name Planned Parenthood will eventually become a name like Auschwitz and Dachau, a name we throw on the ash heap of history as another warning against culture’s legal cooperation with evil,” Rysavy noted. “When you support Vitae, you help bring about cultural change. You do so by helping women in crisis arrive at a pregnancy center, and that is where culture changes. Culture changes because she is encouraged and supported in a positive decision that fills her life with hope and promise instead of crushing her future with death and regret.”
The former NFL star agreed with Rysavy that culture changes slowly, but it seems to be happening, especially considering what happened in last week’s election.
“They are trying to explain, ‘How did we miss this?’ They have all sorts of reasons,” Birk said. “I’d like to think that when someone is so brazenly pro-abortion to the point that they are proud of it, that was kind of the breaking point for people. This is the fundamental issue, and if we can’t get this right, there’s probably not much hope for us as a society.”
How did we get to this culture of death? The winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award believes it starts with seeking joy, but what the world offers us is pleasure. As human beings, we can’t help but try to make ourselves happy.
“God gave us the gift of free will and the ability to reason. Those two things are tremendous gifts, but as human beings we screw those things up. In fact, we’ve pretty much screwed it up since the beginning of time,” Birk explained. “In the Garden of Eden God, gave Adam and Eve free will. You can do whatever you want, just don’t eat the fruit, right? And they reasoned that they should eat the fruit, that they would be happy.”
In his travels, Birk has met literally thousands of women who tell the same story, they are post-abortive women. They had an abortion when they were young and it was the worst decision they ever made. Now they march and fight for life. “Those are the heroes of this movement. If there are thousands at a march, there must be millions of other women around the country who feel the same way. Isn’t that evidence enough that abortion is not a good thing?” Birk questioned.
The six-time Pro-Bowler shared that he and his wife, Adrianna, are the parents of eight children, ranging in ages 14 to 3 months. The two youngest were recently adopted. He shared their adoption stories, and how one birth mother was afraid her child would think she didn’t love him enough to keep them.
“Our ten-month-old’s birth mother desperately wanted to keep him. She was single, she had two kids already; and she just knew she couldn’t provide. Thankfully she chose us,” Birk stated. “She told us, ‘I just don’t want people to think that I don’t love this child.’ I told her, it’s quite the opposite. What you are doing is maybe the greatest selfless act of love that a mother can do.”
The theme of Birk’s talk was about choices, and how they govern our lives. Each choice has a consequence. He urged the Vitae crowd to not just be pro-life, but to do something with that conviction. In other words, get off the sidelines and do your part. Birk says he got a late start in doing his part, beginning with turning down that invitation, but he doesn’t regret it.
“I don’t look at it as turning down an invitation to the White House. That wasn’t hard for me. People say, ‘Oh, you must have gotten a lot of flak.’ I’ve had literally thousands of people come up to me in the last four years and tell me how glad they were that I did that,” Birk noted. “There are harder things, like what the people do at Vitae. There are people doing saintly work. Whatever your platform, whatever you’ve been called to do, do it. Don’t just sit on the sidelines like I did for many years.
“God gives us talents for only a little while. It’s up to us to use them. Let’s use them to help more and more women choose life,” Birk stated.
If you’d like to help Vitae with its mission of reaching abortion-minded women with messages of hope and options for their unintended pregnancies, then please donate now. Planned Parenthood donations are up 7000 percent since the election, so there’s still much to do in helping women avoid this Goliath of the abortion industry.