The Supreme court abortion ruling could also have repercussions for Americans’ mental health. After the court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a statement warning the ruling and its effects will “exacerbate” America’s ongoing mental health crisis.
“We are alarmed that the justices would nullify Roe despite decades of scientific research demonstrating that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction, and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions,” said APA President Frank C. Worrell in the statement, noting that research suggests adding barriers to accessing abortion services may increase symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
According to the U.S. Turnaway study, which examined the impacts of abortions on 1,000 pregnant people over the course of five years, people who were denied abortions had higher anxiety than people who were able to get abortions for up to six months. Contrary to what some anti-abortion activists believe, people who received abortions did not see an increase in mental health symptoms. The study also found that those denied abortions had worse outcomes than people who got abortions, including an increase in poverty that lasts for up to four years, lowered credit score, higher risk of partner violence, higher likelihood of being a single parent, and higher likelihood of life-threatening complications.
During the pandemic, 40% of adults in America reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from 10% in 2019. Meanwhile, more than 25 million Americans live in areas where there are not enough mental health service providers to meet the demand.