Rapinoe among 500 athletes calling on the US Supreme Court to protect the right to abortion | US sports


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A group of prominent female athletes, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and basketball stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, called on the US Supreme Court on Monday to protect abortion law in a case involving the Republican-backed Mississippi offer to ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Opponents of abortion have asked the court, which has a Conservative majority of 6: 3, to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, which recognizes a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and legalizes abortion nationwide after it has been in certain states was banned.

More than 500 athletes and groups signed a “Friend-of-the-Court” letter to the judges, including 26 Olympians, 73 professional athletes and various athletes’ associations. They argued that the right to abortion contributed to the growth of women’s sport and expressed concern that future athletes would suffer without this protection.

Without the right to terminate a pregnancy, “the physical stress of forced pregnancy and childbirth would undermine athletes’ ability to reach their full human potential,” the letter said.

“As athletes in sport, we must have the power to make important decisions about our own bodies and to exercise control over our reproductive lives,” said Rapinoe, two-time World Cup and Olympic champion, in a statement calling the abortion rights restriction legislation as ” angry and un-American “.

Rapinoe has spoken out on various political issues. Bird and Taurasi, both stars of the WNBA, helped the US women’s basketball team win the gold medal at this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Taurasi is the WNBA’s all-time top scorer. Bird is married to Rapinoe.

Other signatories included Ashleigh Johnson, the first black woman to join the US Olympic water polo team and also Olympic champion in Tokyo.

The Supreme Court on Monday set the hearing in the case for December 1st. A decision should be made by the end of June next year.

Mississippi attorney general Lynn Fitch, a Republican who has been backed by anti-abortionists, said in papers filed in court in July that the Roe-v-Wade ruling and a subsequent 1992 ruling upheld her both were “tremendously wrong” and should be repealed.

The lawsuit in court in Mississippi marked the first time the Republican-ruled state, to revive a law blocked by lower courts, made repealing Roe v. Wade a central part of its argument.

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