Megan Rapinoe, the outspoken star of the United States women’s soccer team, was among several professional athletes on Friday to criticize the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. She had not originally planned to appear at a press conference ahead of the team’s friendly against Colombia, but spent nearly 30 minutes responding to the decision, which ends the constitutional right to abortion.
“Frankly, the majority male court that makes decisions about my body or the body of any other woman is completely wrong and totally out of touch with the wishes of the country,” Rapinoe said, adding that the timing was “strangely cruel” for the announcement is coming. as women celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX legislation, which guaranteed women and girls access to educational resources, including sports.
Rapinoe was among 500 current and former athletes who last year signed an amicus brief supporting abortion rights for the Supreme Court case, including Layshia Clarendon, the former All-Star of the WNBA. The brief argued in part that a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body underpins the success of American women in the Olympics.
The WNBA Players Union said in a press release Friday that the decision could “reinforce economic, social and political inequalities and could lead to higher rates of maternal mortality while eviscerating reproductive freedom rights for all.” A NWSL Statement called it a denial of “full freedom and equality”.
A number of athletes posted their opposition to the decision on their social media accounts, with the NBA star LeBron James’ handwriting“It’s absolutely about power and control” in an all caps Twitter post, and Coco Gauff, the world No. 12 ranked women’s tennis player, post that she was “incredibly disappointed with today’s decision”.
Two league commissioners, Adam Silver of the NBA and Cathy Engelbert of the WNBA, said in a joint statement that the leagues “believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their future.” They added that they would work, among other things, to ensure that employees “have access to reproductive health care, regardless of their location.”