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U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe was one of more than 500 female athletes who came together to stand up for women and abortion rights. On Monday, the group filed a briefing with the U.S. Supreme Court fighting against a Mississippi law that would ban all abortions after 15 weeks, except in cases of medical emergencies or a “severe fetal abnormality.”
The state had specifically asked the court to overrule its landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade, which granted women’s rights to access abortion with limited government interference.
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“Women’s increased participation and success in sports has been propelled to remarkable heights by women’s exercise of, and reliance on, constitutional guarantees of liberty and gender equality, including the right to reproductive autonomy,” the women’s filing stated. “Continued access to, and reliance on, those rights will empower the next generation of girls and women to continue to excel in athletics and beyond, strengthening their communities and this nation… If women were to be deprived of these constitutional guarantees, the consequences for women’s athletics — and for society as whole — would be devastating.”
In addition to Rapinoe — who has been vocal on a myriad of inequalities in the United States — WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird signed the formal appeal as part of the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health case. It was also signed by 26 Olympians, 73 professional athletes and 276 intercollegiate athletes.
The court announced on Monday that it would hear arguments concerning Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban on Dec. 1.
The case is receiving national attention following Texas’ new abortion law — which bans abortions at about six weeks from the patient’s last menstrual period — went into effect earlier this month. In a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court refused to block the law. Since then, 52 companies such as Yelp, Lyft, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Madewell, Bumble, Benefit Cosmetics, Stitch Fix and Everlane, signed an open letter through organization Don’t Ban Equality, stating: “…policies that restrict reproductive health care go against our values and are bad for business. It impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across states and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out.”