A day after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the LPGA published a carefully worded and relatively neutral statement that did not mention either “reproductive rights” or “abortion.”
The LPGA statement read, in part: “We are a diverse membership organization committed to equality and empowering women, and we encourage and support our employees and members in exercising their individual constitutional right to voice their opinions and vote, as this decision now places important women’s rights in the hands of state lawmakers. The LPGA is committed to this conversation and hopes we all strive for outcomes that ensure equality for all women.”
The LPGA statement was a sharp contrast to other women’s sports leagues like the WNBA and NWSL, which published swift condemnations of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In recent days, multiple LPGA players have called on the organization to take a stronger stance and have used their platforms to highlight the importance of reproductive rights.”
“To me, it read as a statement of concern that refused to take the stance to empower women, which was disheartening to see,” LPGA rookie Allisen Corpuz wrote Wednesday on Instagram. “I’ve only been on Tour for several months, and I already love this organization. But I also believe we can be better.
“As professional athletes, we are scrutinized week in and week out. As women, we are inspiring the next generation and everything left unsaid has been noticed. Think of what a powerful message the LPGA could send by supporting a women’s right to her own body unequivocally.”
Five-time LPGA winner and fellow Hawaii native Michelle Wie West was among the high-profile players who elevated Corpuz’s post, sharing it in her own Instagram story Thursday and encouraging people to read it.
Additionally, “several players came together to write a collective statement that was stronger and more in line with their beliefs,” explained Kay Cockerill, a former LPGA player and current commentator for NBC Sports and Golf Channel, in reference to a post shared by more than 15 players on Tuesday. The statement called the Supreme Court’s decision a “monumental step backwards in women’s right history.”
“Female professional golfers are the physical manifestation of the battles forged by our tour’s thirteen founders,” says the statement, posted by players including Wie West, Lydia Ko, Marina Alex, Brittany Lincicome, Mel Reid, Bronte Law, Suzann Pettersen, Pat Hurst, Karrie Webb, Mariah Stackhouse and Meg Mallon. “It is our duty to continue their work for the generations to come. We are mothers, daughters, sisters. I believe that reproductive rights are human rights. It is devastating to see this decision further divide our country, but now it is up to us.”
It ended with a call to action: “Let’s work together to help all women get the health care they need.”
Wrote Wie West with her post, “Never be scared to speak up for what you believe in. I respect that people have diverse opinions and views, but I REFUSE to accept the fact that my daughter will have fewer rights than her previous generation. Donate, speak up, and vote in your local elections!”
Never be scared to speak up for what you believe in. I respect that people have diverse opinions and views, but I REFUSE to accept the fact that my daughter will have fewer rights than her previous generation. Donate, speak up, and vote in your local elections!!! ❤️✊🏼 pic.twitter.com/xEquLw6i4L
— Michelle Wie (@MichelleWieWest) June 28, 2022
Not all LPGA players are upset by the Supreme Court ruling, including Amy Olson, who shared her anti-abortion stance with Golfweek: “For those who say this hurts women, my question to them is — when does a woman’s life begin? If we can’t answer that question, how can we even have a conversation about women’s rights?”
Added Katherine Kirk: “As a Christian, I believe all lives are important and, regardless where you stand, the Supreme Court didn’t make abortion illegal today, they simply gave the power to states to decide.”
For Corpuz, who initially shared her thoughts on the reversal of Roe v. Wade with Golfweek after her second round at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last Friday, the lengthy post was not only in response to the LPGA’s statement, but also a chance to better articulate her position. She revealed the issue hit close to home and shared the deeply private story of her mother’s life-saving procedure following an ectopic pregnancy.
“This was a baby she wanted, but the embryo was unviable and in order to save her life, she had an abortion,” she writes. “She ended up having emergency surgery that day, and the doctor told her if she had come in even 15 minutes later, she may have died. Miscarriages are common among women. Abortions save women’s lives.”
On Her Turf editor Alex Azzi contributed to this report.