Athletes react to Supreme Court abortion decision – The Mercury News

by Anne M. Peterson

US national football team star Megan Rapinoe expressed her anger on Friday at the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the country’s constitutional protections for abortion, decrying the erosion of women’s rights for a generation.

“I think there’s an issue of cruelty because it’s not pro-life in any way,” said Rapinoe, who was close to tears at times when she expressed her outrage.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, some of the nation’s leading sports personalities have always been able to publicly share their frustration, anger and concern. The outspoken Rapinoe was involved.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted that the decision was about “power and control,” and he retweeted some of the post about the decision’s impact on black women.

In a joint statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the league believes “women should be able to make their own decisions regarding their health and future, and we believe that liberty should be protected.” should be done.”

“We will continue to advocate for gender and health equality, including ensuring that our employees have access to reproductive health care, regardless of their location,” he said.

Rapinoe is in Colorado as the two-time defending World Cup champions prepare for a game on Saturday against Colombia. As a lesbian woman, she also spoke about the fear that a conservative court would come forward for her rights.

“We live in a country that always tries to take away what you have, which you have been privileged enough to feel your whole life,” she said.

The High Court’s decision will have a direct impact on women who play for teams in states that may ban abortions in view of the verdict.

That’s the case in Kentucky, home of the National Women’s Soccer League’s racing Louisville, where abortion access abruptly ended with Friday’s decision.

A trigger law was enacted in Kentucky in 2019, which now eliminates nearly all abortions in that state.

“In the wake of today’s Supreme Court ruling, Kentuckians in need of abortion will be forced to walk an average of 245 miles to access proper health care. This development is particularly helpful to marginalized members of our community and future Supreme Court judges.” Concerns about decisions that may affect them,” Racing Louisville said in a statement.

In Florida, a new law goes into effect on July 1 that would ban all abortions after 15 weeks. The NWSL’s Orlando Pride made a joint statement with the Orlando City of Major League Soccer.

“Access to safe reproductive health care and autonomy over one’s body are basic, non-negotiable human rights, and our club strongly opposes today’s Supreme Court decision,” it said.

Texas, home of the NWSL’s Houston Dash and the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, is among 13 states that have trigger laws similar to Kentucky. Two other WNBA teams, the Indiana Fever and the Atlanta Dream, are in states where abortion restrictions are possible.

Just a day before the ruling, Billie Jean King celebrated the anniversary of Title IX and the impact it had on women and sports.

“This decision will not end abortion. What will end it is safe and legal access to this important medical procedure. This is a sad day in the United States,” King said in a statement.

In his 2021 autobiography “All In,” King said she had an abortion in 1971 in California, where it was legal. Her name also appeared in a 1972 edition of Miss Magazine on a petition to legalize abortion, with several prominent women saying they would have an abortion.

The court’s decision was criticized by women’s coaches, players, teams and unions.

It was hard for tennis player Coco Gauff to believe it.

“Incredibly disappointed with the decision made today. The sad part is that it won’t stop abortions… It will only increase illegal and unsafe abortions. Today is a very sad day for our country and I can’t believe that history is one Repeating himself again,” tweeted 18-year-old Gauff, runner-up at the French Open earlier this month.

The WNBA Players Association didn’t mince words: “The decision provides a treacherous path to abortion restrictions that reinforce economic, social and political inequalities and reduce maternal mortality while eliminating rights to reproductive freedom for all.” can lead to higher rates.”

Carol Hutchins of Michigan, the most winning coach in college softball history, said she was notified of the decision Friday by a news alert on her phone.

“I fully expected this to happen because it was talked about and it was clear it was coming,” 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 for people’s rights to life, liberty and happiness.”

But women weren’t the only athletes to speak up.

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stephen Frey took to Twitter shortly after the verdict was announced.

“Implement a constitutional right to conceal firearms, and end the fundamental constitutional protection of reproductive rights the next day!? Our country is actively moving in the wrong direction,” Frey said, citing the Supreme Court ruling Giving limits to New York’s “reasonable cause” requirement of who can carry a gun.

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AP Sports Writers Larry Ledge, Melissa Murphy, Tim Reynolds and Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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