A group of over 500 female athletes from professional and college sports, has been joined by U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe, in the submission a collective request to the Supreme Court to block a law in Mississippi that prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks, according to The Daily Wire.
The U.S. Supreme is scheduled to hear the case involving the new law in December.
“[We] 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,” read the statement to the Court.
The females insisted that access to abortions is a reason for the “enormous success” of their achievements in professional sports and prohibiting access to abortions after 15 weeks would “severely” impair future females’ ability to participate in those sports.
Olympic athletes, college athletes and professional athletes are all among those represented in the amicus brief.
Women’s ability to ‘participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation’ — including through high school, collegiate, and professional sports — ’has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’ … Absent the right to access safe and legal abortion care, and the ability of ‘the woman to retain the ultimate control over her destiny and her body,’ … women’s sports would not be the enormous success they are today. Among other reasons, women’s ability to participate and excel in athletics would decline, severely impairing the vitality of sports in the United States. Further, women and girls would be deprived of the multitude of collateral benefits that result from athletic participation, including greater educational success, career advancement, enhanced self-esteem, and improved health.
The group claims that if “the State compelled women athletes to carry pregnancies to term and give birth, it could derail women’s athletic careers, academic futures, and economic livelihoods at a large scale.”
In the brief, the athletes insist that the Mississippi law negatively impacts the already limited time people have to “achieve their greatest athletic potential.” and should be reversed.
The list of complainants claim that; “Absent women’s ability to control their bodies and reproductive decisions, the remarkable increase in women’s participation and success in athletics—and the concomitant increase in women’s ability to enjoy the physical, financial, social, and emotional benefits of sports—would not have occurred.”
Crissy Perham, a former U.S. Olympic swimmer and an Olympic gold medalist, disclosed in the amicus brief that she become pregnant while on birth control in college and stated in the brief that; “having an abortion felt like I was given a second chance at life.”
“When I was in college, I was on birth control, but I accidentally became pregnant. I was on scholarship, I was just starting to succeed in my sport, and I didn’t want to take a year off,” Perham said. “I decided to have an abortion. I wasn’t ready to be a mom, and having an abortion felt like I was given a second chance at life. I was able to take control of my future and refocus my priorities … That choice ultimately led me to being an Olympian, a college graduate, and a proud mother today. I’m finally speaking up and sharing my story because there shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding personal healthcare decisions. Women know what’s best for our own bodies and lives, and our autonomy needs to be respected.”
Megan Rapinoe issued a statement in support of the brief that condemned the Mississippi law.
“I am honored to stand with the hundreds of athletes who have signed onto this Supreme Court brief to help champion not only our constitutional rights, but also those of future generations of athletes,” said the soccer player.
Adding, “Physically, we push ourselves to the absolute limit, so to have forces within this country trying to deny us control over our own bodies is infuriating and un-American and will be met with fierce resistance.”
Texas recently passed a law banning most abortions over six weeks, but it has not met the criteria necessary to be challenged in the courts.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to listen to challenge to the Mississippi law on Dec. 1 of this year.