Roe V Wade and the Impact on Mental Health

Managing Emotions and Having Tough Conversations with Big Impact Topics

From Ellie Coyle, LPCC and your RAFT Counseling Team in Parker, CO

The Feels: Anxiety, Confusion, and Fear

The conversation surrounding abortion is a hot button issue! For some, abortion is a personally difficult decision for both planned and unplanned pregnancies. With the November election season right around the corner, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V Wade is certainly on many people’s mind. The spectrum of emotions, from confusion, anxiety, fear, anger, shock, and acceptance, are all valid, as are the personal life experiences with beliefs and values towards abortion. The freedom to choose to become a parent is no longer guaranteed everywhere in the US which will undoubtedly impact the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of women, and disproportionately impact some more than others. The consequences for overturning Roe V Wade may cause more harm for those who don’t have the resources to travel to different states for the multiple appointments that are required for the procedure; due to travel, childcare, and other cost of resources.

The Facts: The Impact on Mental Health

As of September 23, 2022 for most abortions there are now at least 14 states that ban the procedure and in Georgia there is a ban to end pregnancies after 6-weeks, before most women notice they are pregnant. There is extensive research indicating that carrying an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy is associated with mental health concerns, which will inevitably be a challenge our country will face in the near future. The president of the American Psychological Association comments on the psychological impact of overturn Roe V Wade, stating: “Rigorous, long-term psychological research demonstrates clearly that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared to those who are able to safely obtain abortions,” Frank C. Worrell.

What Goes Wrong: Talking with Others is Hard

Another topic that comes up with the concerns surrounding Roe v Wade is heated arguments with those who are close to you, and feeling disconnected from others when their position on the matter is upsetting. It feels tempting to shut down and
avoid the conversation, but now more than ever we need to start talking.

Having conversations with people can quickly turn into arguments if your beliefs and values don’t align. It can be helpful to remember that as human beings, when we feel like we aren’t being heard or respected, it is our nature to turn up the intensity in our communication by speaking louder or becoming physically closer. Even worse is when someone turns up the intensity on you, and when we feel threatened our emotional brain takes over and turns off the ability to fully hear what the person is saying. It can be helpful to recognize the intensity/energy of the conversation and address it early on so that you are able to hear each other more fully and in a respectful way.

Protect Your Peace: Caring for Yourself

This type of situation might make us want to scroll through news articles which ends up feeding our anxiety which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from the topic. It’s important to care for yourself, because you are no help to anyone,
yourself, or your cause if you are in a state of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. Exploring strategies that make sense for you, to protect your peace can be important in a world with content overload.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by recent and upcoming events that impact your life, therapists at RAFT Counseling are here to support you. With individual therapy and couples counseling available, our therapists can offer guidance in navigating these tough conversations and protecting your peace. Contact us our team today to connect with one of our competent and caring counselors! 
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