USA Today “Sports” spoke to 30 current and retired professional female athletes to ask them about the Supreme Court decision to give abortion rights back to each individual state.
Unsurprisingly, USA Today only interviewed those who disapproved of the ruling. The column described the Court’s decision as “women’s rights being challenged [and] stripped away.”
The piece led with A’ja Wilson, who played basketball in South Carolina. The university built her a statue for her time. Yet Wilson says a statute is not enough following a state proposal that would ban abortions past around six weeks of pregnancy.
The reporter asked Wilson if she’d allow her adult daughter to attend a college in South Carolina, to which she said no.
“I would not let my child go there,” Wilson said with no hesitation.
There's statue of @_ajawilson22 at South Carolina, but she now says she wouldn't let her child play there. USWNT star @Cdunn19 calls playing in a red state “a non starter.” As rights erode, pro athletes fear for the future of women’s sports https://t.co/A9s8kax1po
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) September 14, 2022
The author continued to push the premise that female athletes could and should refuse to play in states that have any sort of restriction on abortion.
The column predicts that red states are about to see an erosion of female athletes.
Soccer player Crystal Dunn says she would refuse to play in any GOP-led state because she might choose to have an abortion at some point.
“Playing in a red state right now, I would say that’s out of the question,” Dunn explained.
“If people have to choose, I’m sure they’re not going to want to choose to go to places where they don’t have rights to their own bodies,” says Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm.
The outlet concludes that overturning Roe has put the future of women’s sports in jeopardy, writing:
“The athletes spoke candidly and passionately about their fear and uncertainty of a future without abortion access, particularly if they get traded to or drafted by a team in a red state.”
While fair to assume there are female athletes who prefer to play in states with free-for-all abortion laws, the piece failed to speak to a single female athlete who could provide a counterargument.
Surely even the woke WNBA has players who support the Supreme Court decision and could have offered a counter perspective to give readers a better understanding of the impact the ruling could have on sports.
Unfortunately, their voices did not matter.
Instead, the author predetermined her conclusion, which is that state rights are unfair to women, and then found athletes to go on record to agree with her. She worked backward, as so many corporate journalists do.
The column frames the narrative to say that red states will force all female athletes to carry unwanted babies. This is purposely misleading.
First, not all red states have complete abortion bans. Second, women can still go to another state to get an abortion.
Finally, there are a limited number of teams and spots to play sports professionally or collegiately. So, to predict that a large number of female athletes will forgo a career and scholarship just because they can’t have an abortion in their backyard sounds more wishful than probable.