Athletes and sports organizations reacted, mostly with horror, to the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade and enable dozens of state laws that will criminalize abortions.

“This decision shows a branch of government that is so out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity,” the WNBA players association said in a statement less than two hours after the Court officially ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Sue Bird tweeted that she was “gutted.” Her team, the Seattle Storm, said they were “furious and ready to fight.”

The WNBPA statement continued: “This ruling provides a treacherous pathway to abortion bans that reinforce economic, social and political inequalities and could lead to higher rates of maternal mortality while eviscerating rights to reproductive freedom for everybody.”

U.S. women’s national soccer team members also spoke out against the Supreme Court’s decision on a previously-scheduled Zoom call with reporters Friday afternoon. Midfielder Lindsey Horan said she was “still a little bit shocked,” and called it a “step backwards for our country.”

Megan Rapinoe, who was not originally slated to meet with reporters, asked to speak in light of the ruling, and wiped away tears as she described a “disheartening,” “infuriating” and “scary day.”

In an unscripted opening statement that lasted more than nine minutes, she stressed that the decision will hit various groups of marginalized women most forcefully.

“We know that this will disproportionately affect poor women, Black women, Brown women, immigrants, women in abusive relationships, women who have been raped, women and girls who have been raped by family members — [or] who, you know what, maybe just didn’t make the best choice,” she said.

“And that’s no reason to be forced to have a pregnancy. It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country. It doesn’t keep not one single person safer. It doesn’t keep not one single child safer, certainly. And it does not keep one single — inclusive term — woman safer. We know that the lack of abortion [rights] does not stop people from having abortions, it stops people from having safe abortions.”

Rapinoe also explained why she doesn’t view the ruling as “pro-life,” pointing to other areas — such as healthcare — that will be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I just can’t understate how sad, and how cruel this is. I think the cruelty is the point. Because this is not pro-life by any means. This way of thinking, or political belief, is coupled with a complete lack of motivation around gun laws, it comes with pro-death penalty, it comes with anti-healthcare, anti-prenatal care, anti-childcare, anti-pre-K, anti-food assistance, anti-welfare, anti-education, anti-maternity leave, anti-paternity leave.

“This is not pro-life. And it’s very frustrating and disheartening, and frankly just infuriating to hear that be the reason that people are wanting to end abortion rights, and end this vital aspect of a woman’s — not only healthcare and general basic safety in this country, but her bodily autonomy, and the right to freedom, and the pursuit of happiness and liberty, is being assaulted in this instance. And it’s just incredibly disheartening.”

She also called on men to be more vocal in speaking out on abortion rights.

“You’ve been silent to us. As a whole, I’m speaking in a monolith. Stand up. Say something. This is your wife, this is your sister, this is your friend, this is your girlfriend, this is the mother of your children. This is all of us. And you are allowing a violent and consistent onslaught on the autonomy of women’s bodies, on women’s rights, on women’s minds, on our hearts, on our souls. We live in a country that forever tries to chip away at what you have enabled, at what you have been privileged enough to feel your entire life.”

“You also have the opportunity to do better every single day. You have the opportunity to show up, make your voices heard, whether that’s in the workplace, on a media zoom, in stadiums, in your family, the way that you vote. It is not a women’s issue. It is everyone’s issue.

“So, this is a call-out, but also a call-in. We are always willing to have more support and more voices. We clearly cannot do this on our own, with the composition of the power structure in our country. And frankly, that falls on you.”

Other prominent athletes speak out on Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

Several athletes past and present referenced the timing of the decision, one day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the watershed law that helped spark a decades-long women’s sports boom. “Yesterday we celebrated Title IX,” Orlando Magic guard Devin Cannady tweeted. “Today we tell these same women that they don’t have the freedom to make decisions about their own body.

“I’m sick for you, I stand with you,” Cannady said. “This country needs to be better, this sh*t is so backwards.”

Billie Jean King, the iconic former tennis player-turned-activist, called Friday “a sad day in the United States.”

Former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. voiced his anger on Twitter, calling the decision “unilaterally unjust.”

Several teams and leagues responded with incisive statements. In the NWSL, the OL Reign said they were “heartbroken,” and “fiercely oppose the decision.” Gotham FC said it “vehemently objects to any rollback of Roe v. Wade and believes reproductive rights are human rights.”





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