On Monday, over 500 women — including U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe and hundreds of professional athletes, Olympians, and college athletes — called on the Supreme Court to strike down a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks in most circumstances. Their actions come as the Supreme Court set a December date to hear the case.
“[We] believe that, like themselves, the next generation of women athletes must be guaranteed bodily integrity and decisional autonomy in order to fully and equally participate in sports,” the women wrote in an amicus brief.
WNBA players Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird — Rapinoe’s fiance — are two of the women’s athletes that are part of the brief.
The group argues that abortion is a major factor in the “enormous success” of women’s sports and that women’s participation in sports would be “severely impaired” if the right to access abortion is restricted.
Women’s ability to ‘participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation’—including through high school, collegiate, and professional sports—’has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’ … Absent the right to access safe and legal abortion care, and the ability of ‘the woman to retain the ultimate control over her destiny and her body,’ … women’s sports would not be the enormous success they are today. Among other reasons, women’s ability to participate and excel in athletics would decline, severely impairing the vitality of sports in the United States. Further, women and girls would be deprived of the multitude of collateral benefits that result from athletic participation, including greater educational success, career advancement, enhanced self-esteem, and improved health.
The brief continues, claiming that men and women only have a short window to “achieve their greatest athletic potential,” and, if “the State compelled women athletes to carry pregnancies to term and give birth, it could derail women’s athletic careers, academic futures, and economic livelihoods at a large scale.”
“Absent women’s ability to control their bodies and reproductive decisions, the remarkable increase in women’s participation and success in athletics—and the concomitant increase in women’s ability to enjoy the physical, financial, social, and emotional benefits of sports—would not have occurred,” the brief states.
Crissy Perham — captain of the 1992 Olympic swim team and an Olympic gold medalist swimmer — said in the brief that she had an abortion in college while on birth control.
“When I was in college, I was on birth control, but I accidentally became pregnant. I was on scholarship, I was just starting to succeed in my sport, and I didn’t want to take a year off,” Perham said. “I decided to have an abortion. I wasn’t ready to be a mom, and having an abortion felt like I was given a second chance at life. I was able to take control of my future and refocus my priorities … That choice ultimately led me to being an Olympian, a college graduate, and a proud mother today. I’m finally speaking up and sharing my story because there shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding personal healthcare decisions. Women know what’s best for our own bodies and lives, and our autonomy needs to be respected.”
Rapinoe — who has placed herself in the middle of many political issues over the past several years — weighed in.
“I am honored to stand with the hundreds of athletes who have signed onto this Supreme Court brief to help champion not only our constitutional rights, but also those of future generations of athletes,” Rapinoe said in a statement.
“Physically, we push ourselves to the absolute limit, so to have forces within this country trying to deny us control over our own bodies is infuriating and un-American and will be met with fierce resistance.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, “The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday set the date of December 1st to hear the case about a Mississippi abortion law that directly challenges Roe v. Wade, a ruling on which could alter the trajectory of future abortion laws across the country.”
The brief comes weeks after a Texas pro-life law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.