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U.S. Olympian, Billie Jean King, sports figures speak out on Roe v. Wade being overturned

U.S. Olympian, Billie Jean King, sports figures speak out on Roe v. Wade being overturned


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Corrections and clarifications: A earlier model of this story misidentified the OL Reign.

Someday after the 50th anniversary of Title IX – laws handed to create and implement equal alternatives in sports activities for ladies – the Supreme Court ruled Friday that People not have a constitutional right to abortion

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, an icon within the sports activities gender fairness motion and girls’s rights activist, known as it “a tragic day within the (United States).” 

“The Supreme Court docket has struck down Roe v. Wade, which for practically 50 years has protected the proper to abortion,” King mentioned. “This choice won’t finish abortion. What it’ll finish is protected and authorized entry to this very important medical process. It’s a unhappy day within the U.S.”

Olympian Ashleigh Johnson was in Budapest, Hungary, celebrating the U.S. girls’s water polo workforce’s 23-3 victory over Argentina on the FINA World Aquatics Championships when the gamers heard the information of the Supreme Court docket ruling. 

“We got here out of our recreation excited to have gained however then simply utterly deflated to consider the implications of Roe v. Wade not current,’’ Johnson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, advised USA TODAY Sports activities throughout a telephone interview.

“Talking as a girl, it looks like a significant step backward for equal illustration of girls in society basically. However talking as an athlete, it’s coming off the again of the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX, so clearly Title IX and the advantages to girls wouldn’t have been potential with out Roe v. Wade.’’ 

U.S. girls’s soccer captain Megan Rapinoe, at all times outspoken on social points, mentioned abortion just isn’t about politics, it is an issue of human rights

“It’s laborious to place into phrases how unhappy a day that is for me personally, for my teammates, simply the entire folks on the market who that is going to have an effect on,” she mentioned. 

Her teammate Lindsey Horan mentioned: “I don’t like talking about this fairly often however waking up and listening to that information was not nice to say the least. I’m nonetheless a bit of bit shocked and attempting to take all of it in. I do really feel like it is a step backwards for our nation.”

WNBA Gamers’ Affiliation: Get out and vote

The WNBA Players’ Association also released a strong response to the information: 

“This choice exhibits a department of presidency that’s so out of contact with the nation and any sense of human dignity. For this reason we are saying voting rights are critically necessary and should be protected. We should acknowledge that after we solid a poll it’s to elect officers and to attach the dots to insurance policies and laws that align with our values.”

The union was additionally crucial of the Supreme Court docket’s ruling Thursday that made it simpler for gun homeowners to publicly carry weapons in states akin to New York, New Jersey and California. 

“Are we in a democracy the place weapons have extra rights than girls?” the union requested in its assertion.

“This ruling gives a treacherous pathway to abortion bans that reinforce financial, social and political inequalities and will result in larger charges of maternal mortality whereas eviscerating rights to reproductive freedom for everybody

“To guard our democracy, we should vote like our lives rely on it. As a result of they do.” 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert issued a joint assertion saying the leagues consider “girls ought to be capable of make their very own selections regarding their well being and future, and we consider that freedom should be protected.”

NWSL groups vow to battle for equality

Groups within the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League additionally spoke up on social media. Racing Louisville FC noted that the typical Kentucky resident shall be pressured to drive 245 miles for an abortion. “This growth leaves us particularly involved about marginalized members of our neighborhood and future Supreme Court docket selections that would affect them.” 

The OL Reign said, “We’re heartbroken by this choice … by overturning the essential human proper to bodily autonomy, our most susceptible communities are most impacted. This instantly opposes our values at OL Reign and we’re dedicated to combating for equality.”

The Orlando Pleasure of the NWSL and Orlando Metropolis SC of Main League Soccer additionally issued joint assertion, saying, “Entry to protected reproductive healthcare and having autonomy over one’s physique are fundamental, nonnegotiable human rights, and our membership deeply objects to as we speak’s Supreme Court docket choice.”

“The Supreme Court docket’s ruling as we speak denies people on this nation the total liberty and equality that’s the cornerstone of a simply society,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman mentioned in a press release. “Reproductive rights are human rights. Till each particular person has the identical freedoms as their neighbor, our work just isn’t completed. We’ll proceed to make our voices heard. The NWSL is greater than only a soccer league; we’re a collective who will arise each day for what is true.”

The NWSL Players Association said it “strongly condemns as we speak’s choice to overturn Roe vs. Wade — a choice that successfully takes away an individual’s proper to make selections about their very own physique, a fundamental human proper on the core of each facet of life. This ‘pro-life’ choice will consequence within the deaths of an untold variety of girls, significantly in marginalized communities.”

Male athletes additionally criticized the choice, incuding three from the auto racing world.

IndyCar driver Dalton Kellett, who hails from Canada, tweeted that he’s pro-choice and “the hypocrisy of the state of affairs, as a person” bothered him. 

“If the roles have been reversed, it wouldn’t even be up for dialogue,” Kellett wrote on Twitter. “We’d by no means quit management of our our bodies. Ladies shouldn’t have to surrender management of theirs.” 

One other IndyCar driver, JR Hildebrand, also criticized today’s decision, tweeting:

“My spouse is a girls’s well being nurse. There are a number of causes to terminate a being pregnant. And in a rustic w no assured entry to contraception, healthcare, paid go away, or parental help, it’s totally ridiculous to *additionally* make terminating a being pregnant unimaginable or unsafe.”

And 7-time System One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who from Nice Britain, weighed in on his Instagram story:

“Disgusted by the choice made by the Supreme Court docket within the US as we speak. I do not perceive why some in energy pushed and proceed to push to strip rights away from hundreds of thousands of individuals. This choice will affect probably the most susceptible amongst us. Ladies, folks of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ neighborhood and so forth.

NBA guard Josh Hart apologized to girls, saying “To the ladies on this nation….I’m Sorry.” Minnesota Timberwolves huge man Karl-Anthony Cities quote-tweeted former President Barack Obama’s assertion, writing “Unhappy Day.” 

ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, a former NFL defensive again, wrote: “To the entire girls who’re hurting as we speak I see you. I’m so sorry that the nation moved backwards as we speak. Praying with you all!”

A defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cam Heyward, commented on the nation “going backwards.” 

“It’s a disgrace we’re going backwards,” he wrote on Twitter. “To remove a girl’s selection and suppose progress was made is BS. It’s a troublesome choice nevertheless it’s their choice. Go away it that.” 

Potential penalties for feminine school athletes

Johnson, the Olympic water polo goalkeeper who performed collegiately at Princeton, was certainly one of 500 feminine athletes who signed on to an amicus brief final September urging the Supreme Court docket to reject the Mississippi legislation on the middle of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling

Johnson is anxious about feminine school athletes attending colleges in states the place the Supreme Court docket’s ruling results in abortion being outlawed. Partially, she is anxious after studying that fewer than 10 p.c of faculties have the infrastructure to help school athletes who’re elevating kids.

“That’s loopy,’’ Johnson mentioned. “With this ruling, if school athletes who resolve to maintain their child don’t have the selection whether or not or not they will hold this little one, they’ve to decide on between being a student-athlete dad or mum and being a dad or mum. It’s sacrificing your schooling, it’s sacrificing your athletic profession. It’s creating this dilemma the place you select between getting an schooling and unlocking all these totally different alternatives for the remainder of your life.’’

OPINION: Athletes may think twice where they go to school if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Johnson additionally mirrored on a private message and what she shares with younger ladies taking part in sports activities. 

“I speak about how sport provides you a lot energy over your physique,’’ she mentioned. “It provides you a lot freedom. And like younger ladies rising up with physique points, there’s a difficult relationship together with your physique, however the one factor that you understand is assured is that your physique is yours …  and thru sport you study that it’s one thing actually highly effective. 

 “To have our authorities take that piece of us away, it’s simply an enormous step backward, it looks like.’’ 

Contributing: Christine Brennan, Lindsay Schnell, Josh Peter



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