Ahead of the United States Women's National Soccer Team's friendly match against Colombia on Saturday, stars Megan Rapinoe and Lindsey Horan used their media availability Friday to speak out against the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade was a landmark case decided in 1972, protecting the constitutional right for Americans to receive an abortion. The court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Friday eliminates the protection at a federal level.
Rapinoe, who is never shy about speaking on social issues, expressed sadness and frustration over the decision, telling reporters: "I wish we could just talk about soccer today, but obviously with the ruling on Roe v. Wade today, that takes precedence over everything. It's hard to put to words how sad a day today is for me, for my teammates."
The 36-year-old veteran also discussed her concern over what the decision will mean for marginalized women in the country, saying: "I would just encourage people to try and understand the intersectionality of this. I am a cis rich white woman ... not everyone is afforded that ... this will disproportionately affect [underprivileged women and minorities]. ... It doesn't keep one single person safer."
Horan echoed Rapinoe's sentiments, telling reporters: "Waking up and hearing that news was not great, to say the least. I'm still a little bit shocked and trying to take it all in, but I do feel like this is taking a step backwards for our country."
Rapinoe gave her take on the distinction of being "pro-choice" and "pro-life" as well, saying: "Pro-choice means that we all get to decide what's best for us. ... Pro-life does not allow anything except one strict religious view. ... It's a really sad day. It's a really hard thing to deal with, for all of us. ... Come from a place of compassion and humanity."
The two-time World Cup champion and one-time Olympic gold medalist added that it is "difficult to live in a country" where there is an "onslaught against" women as well as transgender and nonbinary people.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski supported his players' feelings on the matter when speaking to the media as well.
Andonovski, a 45-year-old male from North Macedonia, said: "Obviously waking up and seeing the news when I woke up, I was not happy as someone with a wife and daughter who wants them to have choice. ... I want to be there for [my players]."
Rapinoe made a call to action on Friday as well, urging those impacted by the Roe v. Wade decision to vote and make their voices heard: "If you ever needed a f--king motivation to vote, to get involved, quite literally people's lives depend on it. Actual lives, we're talking life and death."
Oftentimes, Rapinoe and her USWNT teammates have been at the forefront of supporting women and people from historically excluded groups in the United States in their fight for equal rights.
The USWNT notably fought for and received equal pay to the USMNT, which was a historic win for female athletes.
In 2016, Rapinoe knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a friendly against Thailand, joining then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his fight against racial inequality, social injustice and police brutality.
Now, Rapinoe and other USWNT members are taking a stance once again on a subject that has created significant division within the country.