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How Can The Supreme Court Overturn Of Roe V. Wade Affect Mental Health?

Abortion-rights activists gather outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. A protester wearing a face mask holds a sign that reads "Keep Abortion Safe + Legal"
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022. Protesters gathered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
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Citing decades of research, the American Psychological Association says it’s probable that barring access to abortion will lead to “mental health harms” in the wake of the overturn if Roe v. Wade.

“This ruling ignores not only precedent but science, and will exacerbate the mental health crisis America is already experiencing,” APA President Dr. Frank C. Worrell said in a statement released Friday.

“When you’re denied the ability to have an abortion, you may actually be more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower levels of life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared to women that were able to receive an abortion,” Dr. Melanie Chinchilla, a clinical psychologist and board member of the California Psychological Association told LAist.

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Even in states like California where reproductive rights won’t be rolled back, Chinchilla said the news of the SCOTUS overturn of Roe. v. Wade will lead to anxiety, as some people contemplate further division in the U.S. and become disillusioned with a judicial system that had upheld a constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years.

Chinchilla encourages people to talk about how they feel about the ruling with family and friends and take action — whether that’s education or writing to a legislator.

“We’re not helpless, we’re not just sitting ducks here,” she said.

What questions do you have about mental health in SoCal?
One of my goals on the mental health beat is to make the seemingly intractable mental health care system more navigable.