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Layshia Clarendon says Roe v. Wade decision is only the beginning

(Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Layshia Clarendon addressed the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade in a recent USA Today op-ed, calling out the decision as just one piece of a much larger attack on personal freedoms.

The first openly trans and nonbinary player in the WNBA also called out the 18 states that have banned transgender athletes participating in sports that match their gender identities under the guise of protecting women’s sports.

“I know from deep personal experience, Republicans do not care about women’s sports,” they wrote. “What they do care about is simple and allows for singular, relentless focus. The consolidation of power. And they’ll use women’s sports as yet another quick gesture to trick people into giving them that power.

“Fear sells, it spreads. It morphs and shape shifts to one size fits all, and Republicans are seasoned magicians creating new tall tales under the guise of unity, fairness, and protecting women.”

Clarendon is the WNBA’s first openly transgender player, and the first to go by they/them pronouns. Clarendon uses she/her, they/them and he/him pronouns interchangeably.

In the piece, they assert that the stripping of individual rights, from sports participation to reproductive health, slowly will begin to include other areas until all rights have been taken away.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the fate of abortion rights up to individual states. More than 20 states are set to reduce or ban abortion access.

“It starts at the margins, chipping away slowly – at access to hormones, what can be inside your body – and builds, like a pot of boiling water to a destructive roil that consumes: birth control, condoms, who you can love, how you can raise your children, what can be taught in schools. These aren’t secret ambitions,” Clarendon wrote. “Republicans have said the desire to overturn Loving v. Virginia, granting interracial couples the right to marry, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion a right and was overturned on June 24, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed gay marriage.

“It took both Loving and Obergefell to make the union between me and my wife legal. Two protections under the law so a black queer person and a white queer person could marry and have access to the benefits it grants under the law. It took Title IX to allow me to step on a court. Freedom requires constant vigilance and it requires intentional protections.

“So trust us that we would know first when it’s slipping away.”