The recent ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade is having a widespread effect on the American population and has been the topic of many debates, conversations, and discussions. For those who are unsure about the history of Roe vs. Wade, the legal case originally went before the US Supreme Court in 1973, where the justices ruled a 7 to 2 decision “that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.”(1) Fast forward to 50 years later, on Friday, June 24, 2022, the Court in a 5-4 decision overturned the previous ruling. This means individual states were given the power to set their own laws on abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. You can read the Supreme Court’s decision HERE.
Regardless of which side you find yourself in this debate, there’s a growing need for awareness and understanding as to how this decision has and will continue to impact the lives of a vast majority of people, both physically and mentally, for years to come. As professional counselors, working in private practice, we are seeing the impacts of this ruling firsthand on the mental health of many of our clients. Please note that this article was not written to debate the decision itself, but to look at some of the mental health concerns which arise because of this decision.
Roe v. Wade Overturned, Impacting The Counseling Sessions
A majority of clients we counsel here at New Heights Counseling have experienced trauma, with a large number being related to sexual assault and rape. For these individuals, their choice about what was done with their bodies was taken from them during such traumas. Many have formed the view that the world is unsafe, or that people are not to be trusted. Now with this new ruling, it not only has the potential to be re-triggering for these individuals regarding their initial traumas and concerns, but it is also another way in which individuals can feel like their choices and their control over their bodies are no longer their own. Monica Band, a licensed mental health counselor, points out that clients “who experienced the ongoing grief of child loss, miscarriage, and infertility due to preexisting conditions were equally concerned about their future in conceiving—worried primarily about their access to the medical care, support, and education that they relied on in the past.”(2)
Along with trauma, a large number of individuals, who seek out mental health services, experience some form of anxiety. For those that experience high anxiety, the symptoms can often manifest as worst-case scenario thinking. For many individuals, feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression related to the impacts of this ruling are compounded with the fear of, “what’s next?” The idea that this may be the start of even more choices being taken away can feel paralyzing for those who experience these symptoms. Other emotional responses include but are not limited to the feeling of grief, betrayal, anguish, and a sense of going backward with anger towards the ruling.
From a mental health perspective, we know that many people can have challenges adjusting to change. By the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the population experienced life adjustments regarding restrictions. Many individuals believe the Supreme Courts act of “Overturning Roe vs. Wade means we can expect an increase in economic hardship and insecurity that may lead to increased stress, lower life satisfaction, decreased work productivity, increased turnover, and decreased mental well-being,” a writer described for The American Counseling Association. Mental health providers have been called by American Psychological Association (APA) to be prepared and “support people as they grapple with their reproductive health decisions.”(3) This ruling is a change that can bring up a sense of powerlessness in individuals, exacerbated by the events that have gone on in the last few years. As mental health professionals, we will continue to do our best to walk alongside our clients in whichever ways this ruling has affected them during this time.
Get Support From A Trauma Therapist
If you or someone you love has been traumatized and affected by the overturning decision of Roe v. Wade and needs to talk and get help, know you are not alone. Pick up the phone and call 850.757.1552 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional therapists today. Read our staff’s biographies on our website at meet our team. The therapists at New Heights will work with you at your pace and tackle your concerns. Reach out and let us help you.
- Roe v. wade Mental Health by Lizzie Duszynski-Goodman for Forbes Health
- American Psychological Association
- Feeling Anxious about the end of Roe vs. Wade? by Karen Garcia, Madalyn Amato
Other Mental Health Services We Offer At New Heights Counseling
New Heights Counseling offers to support you and your family. We provide both individual and couples counseling for a wide variety of mental concerns, as well as, EMDR trauma therapy. Our services are for children, adolescents, and adults and we offer in-person sessions at our Fort Walton Beach, FL location and online therapy for the state of Florida and Virginia.
New Heights Counseling is located on the 2nd floor of WorkSpace Suites at 1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1057, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Get directions to our office from Google Maps Or, visit our office Location Webpage
About the Author:
Hillary Marshall is a PRE-LICENSED Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and passionate about helping others. She has experience working with adults, children, and couples. She is Level 2 trauma trained in EMDR and works with clients who are impacted by the decision of Roe v. Wade. Hillary approaches each client with compassion and empathy, She is dedicated to her clients’ care and services in Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities. Book an appointment with Hillary HERE!