WNBA players, sports legends react to abortion decision

Anger, frustration and broken-heart emojis began filling athletes’ Twitter and Instagram feeds on Friday morning.

The WNBA, long known for being quick to speak out on social justice issues, led a wave of athletes to denounce the Supreme Court for overturning the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, and the ruling ones States could ban abortion again. Opinion polls show that most Americans support access to abortion, at least in the early months of pregnancy, but half the states are expected to pass or enforce legislation making most abortions illegal.

Some expressed frustration that the ruling came the day after the Supreme Court celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX and after the Supreme Court had relaxed some gun laws.

The National Women’s Basketball Players Association. released a statement on Friday condemning the verdict, and many players and teams were quick to follow his lead.

“Are we in a democracy where guns have more rights than women?” The association wrote in the statement, which called the Supreme Court “out of touch with the country and lacking any sense of human decency.”

The Sparks were among a handful of teams who took to the team’s social media accounts to say they were “outraged by today’s Supreme Court decision.”

“This ruling deprives women of their fundamental right to autonomy over their own bodies. As we have done for over 25 years, the Los Angeles Sparks organization will continue to fight and advocate for women’s freedoms, health equity and social justice,” the team said in a statement.

spark arrestor Lexie Brown tweeted, “How did we get here? There’s so much going on in this country and that’s what they want to focus on. It’s really frightening.”

And Spark’s teammate Katie Lou Samuelson posted“Wow… that’s an absolute farce.”

Sue Bird, the Seattle Storm star, expressed her disappointment on Twitter shortly after the news broke. She has since shared voter representation information and tweets about reproductive rights by state.

The Storm tweeted in a statement that they were “angry and ready to fight”.

Billie Jean King, the tennis legend and a Long Beach native, tweeted Friday that “it’s a sad day in the United States.” King spoke about her journey to an abortion in her memoir All In and continued her rallying cry for abortion rights after a draft Supreme Court decision was leaked in May.

Tennis star Martina Navratilova expressed her frustration at the verdict, tweeting, “Welcome to Gilead,” referencing the fictional location of the popular book and TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, where women are deprived of all individual rights.

Male athletes and coaches have also started to get involved.

Lakers star LeBron James retweeted former President Obama’s comments about the verdict, while Austin Rivers tweeted, “Is America going backwards?”

Former New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy tweeted“A dark day for women and those who love women.” Van Gundy, in another tweet, expressed his anger at the Republican Party for not giving women “full rights over their own bodies.”

The fight for abortion rights for athletes, coaches and other athletes began long before Friday’s decision. The Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and USC swimmer Lauren Blair joined Megan Rapinoe, Bird and more than 500 other current and former high school, college and professional athletes in signing an amicus letter in support of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the losing side in the case The Supreme Court ruled on Friday to strike down the Roe vs. Wade precedent.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-06-24/athletes-billie-jean-king-sports-athletes-reaction-abortion-decision WNBA players, sports legends react to abortion decision

Emma Bowman

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