Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh makes surprise March for Life appearance — By: Catholic News Agency

University of Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2024, pictured with Tim Shipe, a high school teacher from Florida (and lifelong Buckeye fan). / Credit: Father Eric Scanlan

CNA Staff, Jan 19, 2024 / 17:17 pm (CNA).

Jim Harbaugh, the celebrated football coach whose University of Michigan Wolverines just won the national championship, made a surprise appearance Friday at the annual pro-life march in Washington, D.C., at which he praised marchers for what he said was the witness to life they were demonstrating. 

“It’s a great example that you’re setting,” Harbaugh told the crowd at a rally before the March for Life. “It’s testimony, for the sanctity of life.” 

“It’s a great day for a march!” the coach added to cheers. “It’s a great day! This is football weather! Let’s go!”

Harbaugh, who introduced keynote speaker Benjamin Watson, a former NFL player, was a surprise addition to the lineup of speakers at the pre-march rally on the National Mall.

Social media users, meanwhile, posted images of Harbaugh at the march itself and prior to it. 

In recent years, Harbaugh, a Roman Catholic, has been outspoken about his pro-life views. 

In 2022 he shared with ESPN how he told his family, players, and staff members that if they found themselves in an unplanned pregnancy and could not take care of the baby then he and his wife would raise the child.

“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 told the network. 

“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.” 

The coach, who in 2017 presented Pope Francis with a University of Michigan helmet and pair of cleats, said that year that visiting the Vatican was “the experience of a lifetime.”

Pope Francis with Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh in Vatican City, April 26, 2017. Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.

The grace he felt after meeting the Holy Father “was beyond description,” he told CNA. 

“And I know that there’s something that I’m supposed to do with that opportunity, with that encounter, of meeting the Holy Father,” he said. “I’m going to pray about it.”

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