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Women take knee at US national crit championships after Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

“I felt in my gut that I wanted to do something,” said Heidi Franz, one of the organisers behind the protest

As the United States comes to terms with the Supreme Court’s decision to remove the constitutional right to an abortion, over half of the elite women’s field at the US national crit championships took the knee in protest during the pre-race national anthem.

Coryn Labecki, Kaia Schmid, Heidi Franz and Alexis Ryan were among the riders who took the knee as part of “a moment of solidarity” before the race, which was won by Ryan’s sister, Kendall Ryan.

Around half of the country’s states are expected to ban or severely curtail access to abortion services after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, which granted federal protection for women choosing to terminate a pregnancy.

Tennessee, where the US Pro National Championships are currently being held in Knoxville, is one of several states which has a so-called “trigger law” in place, enabling an abortion ban to take effect within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The decision to take the knee – a form of protest at sporting events popularised by NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s campaign against police racism – before the criterium championships was made by a number of riders in the hours leading up the race.

“I felt in my gut that I wanted to do something, so I reached out to other people to see what their feelings were as well,” InstaFund Racing’s Heidi Franz told VeloNews.

“My teammate Maddy [Ward] had told me that one of the pro men’s racers had reached out to her and asked if we were organizing anything, so then it was like, we should really do something.

“I care a lot about these things, and I care a lot about standing up for ourselves, and standing up for other people,” she said.

Alexis Ryan - Roe v Wade protest, US nationals

“The national championship is a symbol of patriotism,” Alexis Ryan, who announced on Instagram that the protest would take place, said before the race.

“And it’s obviously a really tragic moment for women in this country, what happened today.

“I think as athletes, we are role models to younger women, but we are also role models to the entire world, and I think it’s important for us to speak our minds and make a statement with what we’re doing here.”

Lead image credit: Clara Beard

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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68 comments

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JustTryingToGet... | 2 years ago
5 likes

Wow! Just wow.

I get the sense that there are not many women* on here (if there was any doubt, this thread sums it up).

For those that struggle with the concept that ripping a woman's hips apart to force the birth of what was a few cells, take the same logic to forcing men to have a vasectomy until they have proved themselves "worthy" of fathering a child. Nope, thought not even though that would reduce unwanted pregnancies to a minimum.

Not that much of this discussion centres on fathers. Whether the abortion is also right for them, whether the father is in coercive controls by withholding contraception or funds, whether the father stealthed the mother (a shockingly frequent event), whether the father bailed as soon as the pregnancy was announced... the list goes on. This discussion doesn't take place because controlling abortion is about controlling and punishing women for the temerity of having sex whether they chose to or not.

Of course, it's academic. No one ever banned abortion. As long as there have been pregnancies there has been abortion. What has been banned (by allowing a mechanism for states to ban it) is SAFE abortion. Because nothing a forced birth "pro-lifer" loves more than a women they deem a worthless slut bleeding to death in an alley

*just for those that struggle, I was identified as having female genitals at birth, identify as a woman and 'birthed' multiple kids (though not actually my greatest achievement for the absolute pricks amongst you). Funnily enough, until I had kids I was pro-choice but didn't know if I could I have an abortion myself. Having had kids,I now know if I got pregnant now, I would have an abortion immediately because another child would be wrong for me, wrong for my family and wrong for the prospective life inside me. The forced birth contingent give no shits about the prospective life, because they would otherwise recognise that forcing an unwanted birth is generally an awful life for the child to be. Of course, these arse holes won't stop at abortion... they'll be after the coil as well... and then it will be the pill.

Anyway, short cycle ride today, it was nice in the sunshine. Toodle-pip

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Capercaillie replied to JustTryingToGetFromAtoB | 2 years ago
0 likes

Best comment on here, although there are several others on here who have been supportive of a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body, so all credit to them.

A few of the rest seem like crazed nutters, much like those now in charge of the supreme court in America.

Although it seems unlikely we could end up in the same situation in the UK, there are certain people in the government who share the same beliefs:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jacob-rees-mogg-morning-a...

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Roulereo | 2 years ago
1 like

Stop looking for reasons to be outraged, this is just more clickbait. An issue I'd guess no one here has any direct knowledge of, or anmy real connection to, so no reason to be pushing their 'opinions' one way or another. 

This used to be a cyclng website, not just another cesspit of culture war and unwanted opinions. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Roulereo | 2 years ago
5 likes

Roulereo wrote:

This used to be a cyclng website, not just another cesspit of culture war and unwanted opinions. 

To precis: other people have opinions different to my own and I don't want to see them. 

You appear to be pretty keen on putting forward your own opinions, it's just other people doing the same that you don't like, apparently.

If you don't like it, leave it, many other cycling websites are available. 

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mdavidford replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
3 likes

If I was feeling churlish, I might suggest that the person with only 45 posts might want to consider what could have been introduced recently that might have caused this change.

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Rendel Harris replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes

mdavidford wrote:

If I was feeling churlish, I might suggest that the person with only 45 posts might want to consider what could have been introduced recently that might have caused this change.

Indeed! It also makes one wonder, as s/he speaks with such knowledge of what the site used to be like, how long they have been hanging around under another guise or guises…

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Roulereo | 2 years ago
4 likes

Weirdly I suspect not one of your 46 posts is about cycling in any way but involve politics, conspiracies and some weird notion that a news station where their top "face" won a court case on the claim "the public shouldn't believe him" and another who claims "is not a journalist" is really factual. 

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Argos74 | 2 years ago
12 likes

Chapeaue to the ladies who took the knee. The country seems to be sliding into some awful medieval theocratic barbarism, good to see the surviving civilised people standing up (or taking a knee in this case) to be counted.

Although we seem to follow the US on a lot of their misguided paths, am trusting we don't follow them on this one.

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sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
9 likes

Funny how the same people that are saying "hands off my body" were not long ago saying "make vaccines mandatory". 

I don't agree with taking away a birthing persons rights to abortion but in 2019 nearly 640,000 abortions were performed in the US. No way all those pregnancies were from incest or rape or birth defects. 95% or more were elective (I can't remember exactly but it may even be 97%). Meaning they just wanted an abortion because they'd not taken the relevant precautions. Using abortion as a contraceptive is not right. Especially when some states allowed abortion to be done up to 24 weeks. A foetus has a heartbeat at 6 weeks. A genetic code that will never be repeated.

Abortion should still be accessible but a lot of people need to put personal responsibility before pleasure. 

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dubwise replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
5 likes

Birthing person?

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Mark_1973_ replied to dubwise | 2 years ago
2 likes
dubwise wrote:

Birthing person?

Read: "woman".

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dubwise replied to Mark_1973_ | 2 years ago
5 likes
Mark_1973_ wrote:
dubwise wrote:

Birthing person?

Read: "woman".

I know, it is just the sheer stupidity of using that phrase that made me highlight it.

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sparrowlegs replied to dubwise | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm telling you. You say only women can get pregnant and Renny and his buddies will come along and demand you define woman. Go on, try it. I dare you. 

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
2 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

I'm telling you. You say only women can get pregnant and Renny and his buddies will come along and demand you define woman. Go on, try it. I dare you. 

Again, I don't know why you're accusing me of being one of the people with whom you've been having such long and tortuous rows about transgender issues, because I haven't been involved apart from asking for more details about Emily Bridge's arguments for being allowed to compete, for which I was, as I recall, accused of being a TERF.

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sparrowlegs replied to Mark_1973_ | 2 years ago
0 likes

That's a dirty word on here. See the "trans woman" thread. 

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
3 likes

Be careful, Nosferatu will be on to you. He/She/They will be calling you names again.

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sparrowlegs replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not me mate. I've used all the proper names and everything. It's all the others I worry for 😀

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to Mark_1973_ | 2 years ago
3 likes

You're not allowed to say 'woman'. Everyone seems ashamed or scared to say it. What are we coming to?

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sparrowlegs replied to dubwise | 2 years ago
0 likes

Oh yes. Men can have babies too apparently. Haven't you heard?

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Rich_cb replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
0 likes

SNL did a good sketch with the bi-partisan 'My body, my choice' hypocrisy. Was actually quite thought provoking.

https://youtu.be/8h_N80qKYOM

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brooksby replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
10 likes

A foetus doesn't have a heartbeat at six weeks, because a foetus doesn't have a heart at six weeks (just a cluster of cells that are beginning to develop toward becoming a heart...).

And just to be clear, you  think it's better to force someone to go through a whole pregnancy (and, in the USA, incur thousands of dollars of healthcare fees, if the they're lucky) rather than allowing elective abortions?

Pregnancy and giving birth are some of the riskiest activities any woman goes through (even if all goes well), but you're happy to actually force someone to go through nine months of pregnancy and then childbirth *against their will*??
"Land of the free", eh? surprise

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Sriracha replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

You could make very similar arguments in the case of a struggling single mother looking after a disabled infant. So the question comes down to where you draw the line, rather than just rubbishing the whole idea that human life should not be taken cheaply.

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sparrowlegs replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

Rather than use or condom or other birth control?

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
7 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

Rather than use or condom or other birth control?

Are you seriously going to continue this line that abortions are only required by people who are too irresponsible to use birth control?

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sparrowlegs replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

How many were due to people not using birth control and just winging it? I BET it's the majority of those 640,000 abortions. 

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
7 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

How many were due to people not using birth control and just winging it? I BET it's the majority of those 640,000 abortions. 

What you BET does not actually represent data, oddly. The data shows that around 50% of women in the UK having abortions were using contraception of some sort. "Out of 60,000 women who had an abortion at BPAS clinics last year, more than half were using at least one form of contraception."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40520235

 

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sparrowlegs replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

So say, if we take that 50% number and apply it to the 640,000 (in 2019, it may have gone up or down since) we come to 320,000 people that weren't on birth control and just went for it? Responsibilities be damned? 320,000 lives created and destroyed for what? 

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
7 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

So say, if we take that 50% number and apply it to the 640,000 (in 2019, it may have gone up or down since) we come to 320,000 people that weren't on birth control and just went for it? Responsibilities be damned? 320,000 lives created and destroyed for what? 

So you're now happy for people for whom birth control has failed to have abortions, right? But you want people who've maybe had a moment of stupid irresponsibility to be forced to commit to bringing up an unwanted child for life, however poorly equipped emotionally or financially they may be and however miserable that child's life might be as a result?

 

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sparrowlegs replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

Happy? I'm not happy about any life being created and destroyed needlessly. Are you happy about any of those abortions? Is that what makes you "happy"? 

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
5 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

Happy? I'm not happy about any life being created and destroyed needlessly. Are you happy about any of those abortions? Is that what makes you "happy"? 

OK, you just gave away any remaining reason to be taken seriously, I'm done with you.

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