In an interview Wednesday, the president of USA Gymnastics announced plans to boycott states that have limited abortion because pro-life views do not align with USAG’s values.
Speaking with the Associated Press, USAG president Li Li Leung said abortion laws will be a major factor in whether a state is chosen to host future events.
“We want to be able to align with cities and locations that are also aligned with our value system,” Leung said.
She appeared to regret that the organization awarded the 2022 U.S. Gymnastics championships to Tampa, Florida, in January, months before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Following the decision, Florida lawmakers passed legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with limited exceptions.
“More than 63 million unborn babies were aborted in the United States,” since Roe became law, LifeNews noted.
The 1973 ruling forced states to legalize abortion on demand up to viability and allowed abortions up to birth. Now, because of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling, states may protect unborn babies by banning abortions again, and more than a dozen already have done so.
Leung complained that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “took away” from USA Gymnastics’ “value system.”
“We are about empowerment. We are about choice. We are about agency,” Leung told the AP.
Leung stepped into her role as the head of USA Gymnastics in 2019 with the hope of rebuilding trust in the organization after it allowed a pedophile USAG team doctor Larry Nassar and other pedophiles to molest hundreds of young gymnasts for decades. Starting in the late 1990’s until 2016, more than 368 gymnasts alleged that they were sexually assaulted “by gym owners, coaches, and staff working for gymnastics programs across the country.”
Nassar was specifically named in hundreds of lawsuits filed by gymnasts who said he molested them under the pretense of providing medical treatment.
An investigation by The Indianapolis Star over a period of nine months found that the abuses were widespread because “predatory coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym, undetected by a lax system of oversight, or dangerously passed on by USA Gymnastics-certified gyms.”
USAG and Michigan State University (MSU)—where Nassar worked as its osteopathic physician—were accused of enabling Nassar’s abuse and named as defendants in civil lawsuits that former gymnasts filed against Nassar. Several other coaches were involved in the scandal in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Rhode Island, Indiana, and elsewhere.
According to its website, USA Gymnastics is now “committed to creating a culture that encourages and supports its athletes and focuses on the safety and well-being of their athletes, the organization’s highest priority.”
In light of USAG’s recent sordid past, Leung’s dismissal of the values of pro-life USAG gymnasts, parents and fans does not seem supportive, or focused on anyone’s safety and wellbeing. Nor does it inspire trust in an organization that dismissed allegations of sexual abuse for decades.