On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 1973's Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion. That decision now lays in the hands of individual states, with the country poised to become a place where abortions are legal in blue states and illegal in red states. Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe, who is a star player for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT), is one of many using her influential voice to share her disappointment with the Court's decision.
During a pre-game press conference ahead of a USWNT game, Rapinoe spoke at length in an impassioned plea that is in line with her activism. Rapinoe implored people to understand the impact of this decision, particularly for the economically disadvantaged and minority women who will likely be most impacted by having to travel to receive abortions. Calling the decision “cruel,” she spoke for over nine minutes on many aspects of the decision.
“Pro-Choice means that you get to choose,” Rapinoe said. “Pro-Choice allows other people to be pro-life if that is what works for them, or that is what their beliefs are, or if that is where they’re at in their life. Pro-life doesn’t allow anybody to make a choice.”
Rapinoe, who was not originally scheduled to speak to the media, is known for using her voice. In 2016, she took a knee for racial justice in solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick and has spoken at the White House about pay equality. Most recently, Rapinoe was one of 500 female athletes who submitted a brief to the Supreme Court stating that Title IX—which blocks educational institutions that receive federal funds from discrimination based on sex—and its success is intertwined with Roe v. Wade remaining in place.
An excerpt of what Megan Rapinoe said in today’s uswnt press conference.
It’s worth your time. pic.twitter.com/UD5bM4mpSU
— Alex Azzi (@AlexAzziNBC) June 24, 2022
“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,” states the brief, which was filed in 2021. “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.”
At one point during Rapinoe's comments during the press conference, she turned her comments toward men and implored them to step up. “You’ve been silent to us, as a whole. Stand up, say something,” she said. “This is your wife, this is your sister, this is your friend, this is your girlfriend, this is the mother of your children. This is all of us. And you are allowing a violent and consistent onslaught on the autonomy of women’s bodies, on women’s rights, on women’s minds, on our hearts, on our souls. We live in a country that tries to chip away at what you have enabled, at what you have been privileged enough to feel your entire life.”
For their part, the three liberal judges on the Supreme Court also wrote of personal freedom in their dissent, stating that Roe v. Wade is “embedded in core constitutional concepts of individual freedom, and of the equal rights of citizens to decide on the shape of their lives.” They also wrote that “in this Nation, we do not believe that a government controlling all private choices is compatible with a free people” and expressed concern that the Court's decision could have a cascade effect.
“We cannot understand how anyone can be confident that today's opinion will be the last of its kind.”
Watch Olympic gold medal and social activist Megan Rapinoe speak passionately about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which effectively bans abortions in a large part of the United States.
Though she was not originally scheduled to speak to press in the pre-game press conference, she was given the floor to express her thoughts.
Rapinoe was not scheduled to speak to media today.
After the Supreme Court decision, she asked to, and spoke for over 9 minutes before taking a few questions (and wiping away tears).
Here’s what she said. pic.twitter.com/bhjUrhzzrL
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) June 24, 2022
Calling the decision “cruel,” she also asked men to step up as allies.
Megan Rapinoe, speaking just now, to men:
(she’s right) pic.twitter.com/T6qMLbKeVM
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) June 24, 2022
Her position echoes that of the National Women's League Soccer Players Association.
A CALL TO ACTION pic.twitter.com/yhPmdbaMbw
— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) June 24, 2022