500 Athletes Urge Supreme Court to Protect Abortion Rights | PEOPLE.com

Rapinoe said that efforts in Mississippi to enact a highly-restrictive abortion ban were “infuriating and un-American”

More than 500 athletes, including soccer and basketball stars Megan RapinoeDiana Taurasi and Sue Bird, filed a lengthy and persuasive brief to the Supreme Court urging them to protect abortion rights as they prepare to hear a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

This December, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on an appeal of a lower court’s decision to block Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. With the conservative-leaning court, the justices could decide in favor of Mississippi, upending the protections of Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 established the right to abortion through 25 weeks of pregnancy.

The brief, which was signed by athletes and sports groups and included 26 Olympians and 73 active professional athletes, argues that access to abortions has helped women’s sports succeed.

Without access to abortions, they wrote, “women’s participation in athletics would suffer, including because some women athletes would not be able to compete at the same level—or at all — without access to abortion care and without the knowledge that the decision whether to continue or end a pregnancy remains theirs.”

In a statement, Rapinoe said that the Mississippi law and similar legislation from other states are “infuriating and un-American.”

“As women athletes and people in sports, we must have the power to make important decisions about our own bodies and exert control over our reproductive lives,” the Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion said.

Another signatory, Crissy Perham, a three-time Olympic medalist in swimming, shared with The New York Times that she had an abortion as a college sophomore, and said that her career would not have been what it was without terminating her pregnancy.

“Ending my pregnancy, I made a decision about which direction to take my life in,” Perham said. “Someone else might decide to go in another direction, and that’s fine. But this was the best decision for me.”

Perham, who won back-to-back-to-back NCAA titles after her abortion and made the 1992 Olympic team, where she won two gold medals in relay races and a silver in the 100-meter butterfly, said that her story is “not uncommon” among athletes.

Along with Rapinoe, Taurasi, Bird and Perham, Ashleigh Johnson, the first Black woman on the U.S. Olympic water polo team and a Tokyo Olympian, signed the brief, as did the player’s unions of the WNBA and the National Women’s Soccer League.

The signers “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.”

A ruling on the Mississippi case is due by June.

Source: https://people.com/health/megan-rapinoe-diana-taurasi-and-500-other-athletes-urge-supreme-court-to-protect-abortion-rights/?fbclid=IwAR3AX-o23GRnXbvfpQC0MyM6mz6S0Cjq1spBjBtG5mI_zM8EpROpmJxtIMs