© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Met Costume Institute Gala, Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala-In America: A Lexicon of fashion – Arrivals New York City, U.S.A – September 13, 20,21 Megan Rapinoe is a soccer player. Sergio Hudson. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of prominent women athletes including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and basketball standouts Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect abortion rights in a case involving Mississippi’s Republican-backed bid to ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
A majority of the Court’s conservative members are in favor of abortion rights. The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which recognized a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancies and made it legal throughout the United States, was overturned by the opposition.
Over 500 athletes and organizations signed the friend-of-the court brief, which was sent to the justices by 26 Olympians and 73 professional athletes. The group argued that women’s sport has grown because of abortion rights and raised concerns that the future Olympic athletes might not have those protections.
According to the brief, athletes will not be able to achieve their full potential without having the ability to end a pregnancies.
Rapinoe said that women in sport and athletes must be able to take control of their bodies. She is a two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. He called legislation restricting abortion rights “infuriating” and “un-American.”
Rapinoe has spoken out about a number of issues. Both stars of the WNBA, Bird and Taurasi helped America’s women’s basketball team to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Taurasi, the WNBA’s leading scorer is a lifetime record. Bird and Rapinoe are married.
Ashleigh Johnson (the first Black woman to be a member of the U.S. Olympic team in water polo) was another signatory.
On Monday, the Supreme Court set Dec. 1 for oral arguments. By the end next June, a decision is expected.
The Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is a Republican supported by opponents to abortion. In papers filed in July with the court, Fitch stated that both the Roe v. Wade decision and the 1992 subsequent ruling affirming it was “egregiously flawed” and must be overturned.
In Mississippi, the Republican-governed government made Roe V. Wade the central point of its case in a court filing.
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