By Jennifer Roback
On June 24, 2022, members of the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision which made abortion a constitutional right.
Shortly after the decision was announced, protests erupted across the country, and several athletes took to social media to react to the controversial decision, which will now leave abortion rights up to the states.
Among the first to react to the news was Billie Jean King, a tennis legend who is a known advocate in the sports gender equity movement.
"The Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has protected the right to abortion," she wrote. "This decision will not end abortion. What it will end is safe and legal access to this vital medical procedure. It is a sad day in the United States."
Tennis star Coco Gauff echoed King's remarks, saying: "Incredibly disappointed by the decision made today. The sad part is this will not stop abortions from happening… this will only increase illegal and unsafe abortions. Today is a very sad day for our country and I cannot believe once again history is repeating itself."
Megan Rapinoe, the captain of the United States national soccer team, also made a statement about the decision before the start of the USWNT's game against Colombia.
"I wish that we could just talk about soccer today, but obviously with the ruling on Roe vs. Wade that takes precedence over everything is hard to put into words," Rapinoe said, via ESPN. "How sad a day this is for me personally, you know, for my teammates, for just all of the people out there who this is going to affect.
"We know that the lack of abortion does not stop people from having abortions. It stops people from having safe abortions. I would encourage people to understand all of the different aspects that overturning Roe v. Wade will have on so many, actually on everyone in the entire country. I just can't understate how sad and how cruel this is. I think the cruelty is the point because this is not pro-life by any means."
Rapinoe then went on to address the future, stating that she is "scared" based on Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion, which called for the Supreme Court to go after other decisions that have been made, including ones on same-sex romantic relationships and same-sex marriage.
"I absolutely think gay rights are under attack," she continued. "I absolutely think we will see legislation pop up state by state by state that will eventually come to this radical court. I have zero faith that my rights will be upheld by the court. I have faith in our country and I have faith in people and I have faith in the voters. And if you ever needed a f---ing motivation to vote, to get involved -- quite literally people's lives depend on it."
Thomas' concurring opinion stated that the court has a "duty to 'correct the error'" established in Lawrence v. Texas, which protects the right to same-sex romantic relationships, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which establishes the right to same-sex marriage.
He also mentioned Griswold v. Connecticut, which protects the right for couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
Other statements that have been made include:
More information about your right to access reproductive health care can be found here.