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Megan Rapinoe: Star footballer brands US abortion ruling as 'sad and cruel'

"It's hard to put into words how sad a day this is for me personally, for my team-mates, for all of the people who are out there who this is going to affect"; on Friday the US Supreme Court removed constitutional protection for those seeking abortions; Lewis Hamilton "disgusted" by move

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US football star Megan Rapinoe reacts after the US Supreme Court removed American women's constitutional right to abortion

Megan Rapinoe, the US international footballer who has been a leading voice on human-rights issues, has denounced the US Supreme Court's ruling on abortion as "sad and cruel".

Protests are under way in the US after the court removed constitutional protection for those seeking abortions.

The court overturned the landmark ruling of Roe v Wade, a move that is likely to lead to bans on abortions in roughly half of US states.

Rapinoe was among those to speak out against the ruling on Friday.

She said: "It's hard to put into words how sad a day this is for me personally, for my team-mates, for all of the people who are out there who this is going to affect.

"It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country. It doesn't keep one single person safer, it doesn't keep one single child safer, certainly, and it does not keep women safer.

"We know that the lack of abortion does not stop people 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 everyone in the entire country.

"I just can't understate how sad and how cruel this is."

Lewis Hamilton also slammed the decision in a statement posted on his Instagram account.

The F1 driver wrote on Friday: "Disgusted by the decision made by the Supreme Court in the US today. I don't understand why some in power pushed and continue to push to strip rights away from millions of people.

"This decision will impact the most vulnerable among us. Women, people of colour, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and so on."

The NBA and WNBA released a statement criticising the ruling and saying that leagues will continue to support their players to make individual choices and ensure they have access to do so.

"The NBA and WNBA believe that women should be able to make their own decisions concerning their health and future, and we believe that freedom should be protected. We will continue to advocate for gender and health equity, including ensuring our employees have access to reproductive health care, regardless of their location."

Right to abortion overturned by US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has voted to overturn the constitutional right to choose abortion which has existed for almost 50 years, paving the way for half the country to severely restrict or completely ban the practice.

The power to decide on abortion rights for tens of millions of women will now be handed to the 50 states to determine individually.

It is one of the most consequential rulings by the Supreme Court, the highest court in America, in recent history.

Crowds gathered outside the court in Washington DC when the ruling emerged, with some there to celebrate while others rallied against what they see as an attack on women's freedoms.

Anti-abortion protesters celebrate following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, federally protected right to abortion, in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Image: Anti-abortion protesters celebrate following the Supreme Court's decision

The majority of the nine-member panel voted to overturn the court's landmark 1973 ruling known as 'Roe versus Wade' which legalised abortion nationwide up to the point of foetal viability, generally accepted to be around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

At least 25 states are poised to introduce new laws, or reactivate dormant law, which will make it illegal to access abortion in many cases, including, in some instances, where conception has resulted from rape or incest.

Thousands of protesters gathered to support protecting abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court said it will review the Roe vs Wade judgement, which has been in place for nearly 50 years and that led to the legal right to an abortion in the United States. The protesters gathered by the Washington Monument before marching up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building. (Washington, D.C.)
Image: Thousands of protesters gathered in Washington to support protecting abortion rights

Many of those states are in the south of the country. Thirteen states have so-called 'trigger' laws to ban abortion if Roe was to be overturned.

Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota have immediately banned the practice.

Another 10 are set to follow in the comings days and weeks. They are Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

"No one should be able to choose to end the life of an innocent baby in the womb," one woman said outside court. "So I am here to stand up for both the babies and women who have been hurt and killed by abortion."

But another said: "Women deserve protection - this does not mean abortions are going to stop. I've had an abortion, I was 19 years old, I still stay with the grief of that, the shame of that. It's very nuanced. If we make that choice, it doesn't mean we're happy about it. I didn't have the funding to take care of a child the way I wanted to."

Gauff: It feels like we are going backwards

Teen tennis sensation Coco Gauff has been speaking about the decision ahead of her appearance at Wimbledon.

After tweeting about the decision, Gauff revealed she is a keen student of history and respects the struggle of those who fought for women to have abortion rights.

"I'm obviously disappointed about the decision made," the 18-year-old American said. "Obviously, I feel bad for future women and the women now, but I also feel bad for those who protested for this, [however] many years ago, and are alive to see that decision to be reversed.

"I just think that history is repeating itself, and I feel like, I mean, at least from my reading and researching, because I do like history, I just feel like just having this decision reversed, it feels like we're almost going backwards."

Gauff is concerned other rights could be taken away after this decision. It comes after Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, wrote in a concurring opinion piece that the Supreme Court should reconsider Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell – the rulings that currently protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.

Gauff said: "Not only did this decision mark regarding reproductive rights, I feel it also puts a lead way maybe to reverse other things that people in the past worked so hard to reverse.

"But I still want to encourage people to use their voice and not feel too discouraged about this because we can definitely make a change and hopefully, change will happen."

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