Womens’ soccer star Megan Rapinoe urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade on Monday, arguing that restrictions on the killing of unborn babies in abortions are “infuriating and un-American.”
Rapinoe and about 500 other female athletes and sports groups submitted an amicus brief to the court ahead of its Dec. 1 hearing on a major abortion case, Reuters reports.
The athletes asserted that restrictions on second- and third-trimester abortions “would undermine athletes’ ability to actualize their full human potential.”
“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,” Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist, said in a statement.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, centers around a 2018 Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and the question of “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
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Right now, Roe and later Supreme Court abortion rulings prohibit states from banning abortions on unborn babies before viability. As a result, the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Since 1973, nearly 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.
In their brief Monday, however, Rapinoe and the other athletes argued that, unlike men, women need abortions to succeed at sports.
“Women’s increased participation and success in sports has been propelled to remarkable heights by women’s exercise of, and reliance on, constitutional guarantees of liberty and gender equality, including the right to reproductive autonomy,” they wrote, according to the Washington Post. “Continued access to, and reliance on, those rights will empower the next generation of girls and women to continue to excel in athletics and beyond, strengthening their communities and this nation.”
Here’s more from the report:
If access to safe and legal abortion … is taken away, the filing declared, not only would the vitality of American sports be impaired, but women and girls at all levels 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.”
Others who signed the brief included fellow soccer athletes Becky Sauerbrunn and Lynn Williams, basketball athletes Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Brittney Griner, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum, Breanna Stewart and Penny Taylor; Olympic gold medalist swimmer Crissy Perham; Olympic volleyball champions April Ross and Alix Klineman; Olympic fencing gold medalist Lee Kiefer; and Olympic diving silver medalist Michele Mitchell.
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association and the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association also signed the brief, according to the Post.
“If women were to be deprived of these constitutional guarantees, the consequences for women’s athletics — and for society as whole — would be devastating,” they told the court.
But women do not need to have their own children killed in abortions to succeed, and 240 professional women told the Supreme Court exactly that in another amicus brief filed earlier this summer.
The pro-life feminists and scholars said they reject the “societal standard which says women’s path to equality is violence against their own children.” They told the Supreme Court that the “judicially-created right to abortion has oppressed rather than empowered women.”
Some athletes have expressed similar thoughts after having abortions. Four-time Olympic track and field gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross recently shared how deeply she regrets having an abortion to further her athletic career.
“People say, ‘Just have an abortion.’ Well, you don’t ‘just have an abortion,’” Richards-Ross said. “It was extremely traumatic for me. And I go to the Olympics and I literally feel like I don’t deserve to be there.”
Pro-life advocates have strong hopes that the Supreme Court will scale back or overturn Roe when they hear the Mississippi case, many pointing to the conservative majority’s recent decision not to block a Texas pro-life law as a promising sign.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the first female attorney general of the state, is defending the pro-life law.