Whether you have been following the Supreme Court’s decisions closely or not, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the decision to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade (the 1973 lawsuit that declared abortion a constitutional right. You may have seen articles describing the decision or heard the news about it on the radio, for example from National Public Radio (NPR). You may have had a loved one who is much more enthusiastic about politics and keeping up with the news of the courts telling you the alarming news or you have simply stumbled upon it on your social media pages.
However you got it, when you first got the news that the Supreme Court decided to rule against this right to our bodies as people who can become pregnant, you likely had an unpleasant next hour (or rest of the day for most of us).
What Is Roe v. Wade and What Does Its Overturn Mean?
Let’s start off with a little background. The Roe v. Wade lawsuit was the lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to make abortion a constitutional right in 1973 in the United States. This decision established that all women or other persons who are capable of giving birth have an unconditional right to an abortion within the first trimester of pregnancy.
So, after almost 50 years, why has this Roe v. Wade decision been popping up all over the news? On May 2nd, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion to overturn this decision was leaked to the media and on June 24th of 2022, the Supreme Court made the final decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This means that today, the right to abortion is no longer a constitutional right, and women, as well as transgender and nonbinary people, no longer have a protected right to receive an abortion.
Who Does This Affect?
People who do not have the financial stability to provide for a child, LGBTQ+, minority, undocumented, young, or otherwise discriminated against individuals who already face prejudice and less fair services in health care, as well as individuals who may be stuck in abusive relationships or forced to continue contact with an abuser due to a shared child are just a few examples of groups of people who are going to be negatively impacted by the restriction on abortion.
In the simplest terms, this overturn will have tremendous consequences for all people who are capable of becoming pregnant as well as our society as a whole. More specifically, this means women, transgender and non-binary individuals, and anyone else who is able to birth a child. And while these are the people who are most directly affected by the overturn of Roe v. Wade, they are by no means the only people who will be affected by the consequences of this decision. This decision to overturn Roe v. Wade affects all of us and threatens our constitutional rights to control our own bodies.
How the Supreme Court’s Decision Affects Our Societal Mental Health
As a society, we have been experiencing a tremendous rise in anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation and loneliness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, unfortunately, our shared societal woes do not end here. Since the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many people have been struck with increasing fear and anxiety as we watched this fundamental basic right taken away right before our eyes. The June 24th, 2022, decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that was made by the Supreme Court not only revoked women’s (or any other birthing person’s) right to abortion under federal law but also set a terrifying precedent that could result in other rights — such as same-sex marriage and birth control — being taken away just as easily.
In response to the news of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, major health associations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers released a statement that openly states their dissatisfaction with the overturn of this right and that there have been decades of research that clearly show that individuals who are denied access to abortions are much more likely to experience higher anxiety levels, lower self-esteem, and less satisfaction with their lives when compared to individuals who are given access to abortions. Put this on top of the already existent nationwide mental health crisis and we can see that the United States is simply furthering its own descent into nationwide stress, anxiety, and depression.
Additionally, there is a real and dangerous physical risk of forcing a pregnant person to carry a child to term that could result in hemorrhaging or even death. In addition to this risk, many pregnant individuals may be forced into staying in abusive relationships if they are unable to abort the child which can not only bring physical harm to the individual who is carrying the child (if the relationship is physically abusive) but also do tremendous mental damage to both the individual forced to have the child and the child itself once it is born.
The bottom line is that this decision by the Supreme Court takes away the control of our own bodies. It violates our bodily autonomy and disvalues us as human beings. This can cause tremendous and irreparable damage to our well-being and can lead to a number of negative consequences, such as lasting depression or anxiety, economic struggle, and other stressors that can damage not only our own mental health but also the mental health of the child that we were forced to give birth to.
Know You Are Not Alone
The unfortunate truth of today is that the Supreme Court made the devastating decision to remove our fundamental right to abortion. This decision is going to result in a lot of emotional as well as physical repercussions and it is going to be a difficult time for all of us.
But, you do not have to go through this difficult time on your own. The increase in mental, emotional, and even physical stress that the restriction of abortions will bring with it can be devastating to deal with on your own, but you can more effectively manage this increase in stress as well as cope with the possible changes that we may be facing with the help of a therapist.
Therapy is becoming increasingly more sought-out as more and more people realize that speaking to someone about what is on their minds can be incredibly helpful. A therapist can be a great resource to help you deal with any feelings of anxiety and stress you may be feeling. And while speaking with a therapist may not solve the larger issue at hand — of how we can rectify this terrible decision made by the Supreme Court — it can help us to feel more attuned with and in control of our minds.
So, if you are feeling anxious, stressed, or otherwise affected by the news of the Roe v. Wade decision made by the Supreme Court, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow. We are here to help you get through these difficult times and build strong and lasting techniques and strategies to help you cope effectively with your emotions.