The timing of it had to be a coincidence because if it wasn’t, it was cruelty.
One day after the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX came the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.
One day after women and girls across the land celebrated the 37-word federal civil rights law that empowered them in sports and elsewhere, America ruled those same women and girls to be second-class citizens.
Roe v. Wade, which gave pregnant females sovereignty over their own bodies and the right to choose, didn’t quite make it to 50. That anniversary would have been January 22, 2023.
The vast majority support a women’s right to choose in the United States. A poll in the wake of the undoing of Roe v. Wade was more than 2-to-1 in favor of that fundamental right, 63 to 30 percent. In politics that would be beyond a landslide — an enormous consensus in a nation that can’t seem to agree on anything. Though opponents are vehement and cheering today, there is no denying pro-choice is what most of we the people are.
The regressive Supreme Court simply betrayed the will of the people in a stunning, far-reaching abolishing of personal freedom.
Many have likened the once unthinkable reversal to something out of the dark, dystopian TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Author Stephen King called the majority right-wing nine justices “the best Supreme Court the 19th Century has yet produced.”
The day it happened, WNBA star Sue Bird tweeted a heartbreak emoji with a single word:
The WNBA players association called the ruling “out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity.”
Sports and especially women’s sports have had plenty to say about this, with great reason.
If you do not believe Title IX and Roe v. Wade are intertwined, well, you are wrong. There is a worrisome belief that taking away a basic right from more than half of the population could have a serious negative impact on women’s sports.
That is why, nine months ago, 500 former and current female athletes including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and (now detained in Russia) basketball star Brittney Griner, submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in support of women’s right to choice.
It stated “a 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 and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.”
The brief went on to state, “Without Roe’s constitutional protection of women’s bodily integrity and [decision-making] autonomy, women would not have been able to take advantage of Title IX and achieve the tremendous level of athletic participation and success that they enjoy today.”
The court ruling could put women’s health at risk, because, as Billie Jean King tweeted, “This decision will not end abortion. What it will end is safe and legal access to this vital medical procedure.”
That in turn has led several progressive companies including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Netflix and Tesla to pledge financial support for female employees who need to travel to states that have not outlawed abortion.
More than women and female athletes are hurt by the ruling; many have partners also directly impacted.
Many male athletes including LeBron James retweeted what former President Barack Obama wrote: “The Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of of politicians an ideologies.”
The foreboding question, “What’s next?” also is worth pondering of a Supreme Court that turned majority ultra-conservative with three appointments by the twice-impeached and defeated former president.
Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested what could be next. He wrote in the Supreme Court’;s concurring opinion that the High Court “should consider” cases including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell — cases that involve Americans’ basic rights to privacy, due process and equal protection.
Those are cases that led to laws enabling contraception access and same-sex relationships and marriage. Women have been “gutted,” as Sue Bird said. Now the LGBTQ community could be next.
(Justice Thomas, of course, is the same guy whose own wife, Ginni, reportedly has been implicated as supporting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The U.S. House Select Committee investigating that has asked Mrs. Thomas to appear before it).
Since Friday’s ruling, which has spawned continuing national protests for and against, many outraged by the Supreme Court have taken to social media to suggest the Fourth of July celebration should be canceled this year.
It won’t be. But the holiday will take on a different feel, won’t it?
For more than half of the country suddenly stripped of a fundamental freedom and rendered second-class citizens by America’s own highest court, it will feel like anything but Independence Day.