By ANNE M. PETERSON
U.S. national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe expressed anger on Friday at the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the country’s constitutional abortion protections, citing an erosion of rights women have enjoyed since then. a generation.
“I think the cruelty is the point because it’s not pro-life in any way,” said Rapinoe, who was on the verge of tears at times as she expressed her outrage.
Rapinoe, always outspoken, was joined by some of the nation’s biggest sports figures to publicly share their dismay, anger and concern after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted that the decision was about “ power and control“, and he retweeted some messages about the effect of the decision on Black woman.
In a joint statementNBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the leagues “believe women should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their future, and we believe freedom should be protected.”
“We will continue to advocate for gender and health equity, including ensuring that our employees have access to reproductive health care, wherever they are,” they said.
Rapinoe is in Colorado as the two-time defending World Cup champions prepare for a Saturday game against Colombia. As a queer woman, she also expressed her fears that the Conservative court would then come to defend her rights.
“We live in a country that’s always trying to eliminate what you innately have, what you’ve been privileged to feel all your life,” she said.
The High Court ruling will have a direct impact on women who play for teams in states that may outright ban abortions as a result of the ruling.
That’s the situation in Kentucky, home of Racing Louisville of the National Women’s Soccer League, where abortion access ended abruptly with Friday’s ruling.
Kentucky had a trigger law enacted in 2019, which now ends nearly all abortions in that state.
“Kentuckians in need of abortions will be forced to travel an average of 245 miles for proper health care as a result of today’s Supreme Court decision. This development leaves us especially concerned about marginalized members of our community and future Supreme Court decisions that may affect them,” Racing Louisville said in a statement.
In Florida, a new law takes effect July 1 that will ban all abortions after 15 weeks. Orlando Pride of the NWSL released a joint statement with Orlando City of Major League Soccer.
“Access to safe reproductive health care and autonomy over one’s body are fundamental, non-negotiable human rights, and our club strongly opposes today’s Supreme Court decision,” said he declared.
Texas, home to the NWSL’s Houston Dash and the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, is among 13 states that have trigger laws similar to Kentucky’s. Two other WNBA teams, the Indiana Fever and the Atlanta Dream, are in states where abortion restrictions are possible.
Just a day before the decision, Billie Jean King celebrated the anniversary of Title IX and its impact on women and sport.
“This ruling will not end abortion. What it will end is safe and legal access to this life-saving medical procedure. It is a sad day in the United States,” King said in a communicated.
In her 2021 autobiography “All In,” King said she had an abortion in 1971 in California, where it was legal. Her name also appeared on a petition to legalize abortion in a 1972 edition of Ms. Magazine, joining several prominent women stating that they had had an abortion.
Criticism of the court’s decision came flooding in from coaches, players, teams and unions.
Tennis player Coco Gauff found it hard to believe.
“Incredibly disappointed with today’s decision. The sad thing is that it won’t stop abortions from happening…it will only increase illegal and unsafe abortions. Today is a very sad day for our country and I can’t believe that once again history is repeating itself,” tweeted Gauff, 18, a runner-up at Roland-Garros earlier this month.
The WNBA Players’ Association did not mince words: “This decision paves the way for abortion bans that reinforce economic, social and political inequalities and could lead to higher rates of maternal mortality while eviscerating reproductive rights for all.”
Michigan’s Carol Hutchins, the winningest coach in college softball history, said she was notified of the decision by alerts on her phone Friday.
“I totally expected this to happen because it was talked about and it was clear it was going to happen,” Hutchins said. “Women’s rights are human rights and in general, human rights in this country are under siege in my opinion. I am concerned about people’s rights to life, liberty and happiness.
But women weren’t the only athletes speaking out.
Seattle Sounders goaltender Stefan Frei took to Twitter shortly after the decision was made.
“Imposing a constitutional right to concealed carry of firearms, and the next day ending basic constitutional protection of reproductive rights!? Our country is actively moving in the wrong direction,” Frei said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning New York’s “just cause” requirement limiting who can carry a firearm.
AP sportswriters Larry Lage, Melissa Murphy, Tim Reynolds and Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.