In response to an upcoming Mississippi abortion case that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade, more than 500 women athletes across various sports have signed a friend-of-the-court brief encouraging the Supreme Court to protect abortion rights.
The brief, which received support from a gamut of professional athletes and athletic associations that included soccer star Megan Rapinoe, WNBA players Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, Olympic water polo player Ashleigh Johnson, and former Olympic swim team captain Crissy Perham, stated that signees were "united in their deeply-held belief that women's athletics could not have reached its current level of participation and success without the constitutional rights recognized in Roe v. Wade."
The athletes "depend on the right to control their bodies and reproductive lives in order to reach their athletic potential," the brief continued, adding that "the physical tolls of forced pregnancy and childbirth would undermine athletes' ability to actualize their full human potential."
"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," Rapinoe said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "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."
Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case in question, will be heard in court on Dec. 1. The hearing concerns the legality of a 2018 Mississippi law that bans almost every abortion (with the exception of medical emergency) after 15 weeks, which is about nine weeks before a fetus is viable.