On 24 June 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned a landmark case, Roe v. Wade. This case established the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. To provide some background information, Roe v. Wade was a landmark case that, since 1973, generally protected the liberty to choose to have an abortion within the U.S Constitution, by permitting abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. The Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision to overturn this case, now gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws, including banning them completely. Not only will this affect the mental and physical state of countless women, but the economy, different fertility and IVF treatments.
Without the access that Roe v. Wade provided, an estimated 36 million women and others with the ability to get pregnant, within the U.S may lose access to safe abortions. Restricting such reproductive freedoms will not lead to fewer abortions performed, just fewer safe abortions, as individuals may resort to other measures to terminate a pregnancy. Additionally, it may force millions of Americans to carry a pregnancy to term, even if it jeopardizes the health of the baby and/or mother. Denying the right to an abortion could also force victims of sexual assault to carry their predator’s child to term. Furthermore, this decision is expected to increase maternity mortality rates, particularly among people of colour and other marginalized groups.
Not only are numerous individuals expected to be physically affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but negative mental health implications are also predicted. An abortion, legal or not, is already an emotionally taxing process, highlighting the enormous stress and mental toll it is to carry an undesired, unplanned, or unhealthy pregnancy. A licensed psychologist at the Hawaii Center for Sexual and Relationship Health in Honolulu, and Healthline Medical Advisory Board member, Lori Lawrenz, PsyD, explained that there are numerous psychological repercussions to being denied an abortion. Among this list includes lower self-esteem, increased anxiety, post-traumatic stress, panic attacks, depression, anger, and paranoia, affecting all aspects of an individual’s life.
Along with negative effects on physical and mental health, the overturning of Roe v. Wade could impact fertility treatments and IVF. With the Supreme Court’s decisions, not only is abortion affected, but it could make it harder for Americans to access other areas of reproductive medicine, such as fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). The wording or interpretation of some state laws could call into question the legality of IVF, where surplus embryos are frozen or discarded. Furthermore, the laws also pose a threat to standard IVF procedures that are designed to safeguard both parent and fetus. Furthermore, the Roe v. Wade decision could also worse already existing inequalities regarding access to reproductive medicine. Black women experience great levels of infertility, and restrictions could make IVF more expensive, leading to lower chances of a more successful pregnancy.
Undeniably, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is predominantly going to affect the future of abortions, abortion laws, and reproductive medicine. However, the Supreme Court’s recent decision also impacts the economy, as abortion is not only a social issue but also an economic one. Firstly this decision could cause a decreased workforce participation. According to the American Journal of Public Health, those who are unable to get an abortion are three times more likely to be unemployed, compared to those who are able to access an abortion. While public assistance may increase during pregnancy, it is simply not enough to account for the loss of employment income and the cost to support a family. It was also found that people who are denied abortions are more likely to report that they do not have enough money for basic living needs, as many who seek abortions are already mothers and cannot afford to support another child. Furthermore, restricting, or banning abortions can also issue a negative impact on children’s financial wellbeing, increase inequality, and decrease earning potential.
The monumental decision made by the Supreme Court is going to affect the lives of women, and those who have the ability to get pregnant, for years on end. Negatively impacting the future of reproductive medicine, and possibly leading to the restrictions of further constitutional rights, it is important for individuals to educate themselves and learn about the resources that are readily accessible, and legal to use. The support for abortion rights has never been higher, as people across the country continue to fight for their rights.
Corbett, Holly. “How Overturning Roe v. Wade Can Impact the Economy.” Forbes, 7 June 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/hollycorbett/2022/06/07/how-overturning-roe-v-wade-can-impact-the-economy/?sh=4d37af9b632f.
Hart, Robert, and Alison Durkee. “Overturning Roe v. Wade: Here’s How It Could Impact Fertility Treatments and IVF.” Forbes, 24 June 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2022/06/24/overturning-roe-v-wade-heres-how-it-could-impact-fertility-treatments-and-ivf/amp/.
Mangan, Dan. “Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ending 50 Years of Federal Abortion Rights.” CNBC, CNBC, 24 June 2022, www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/06/24/roe-v-wade-overturned-by-supreme-court-ending-federal-abortion-rights.html.
Rice, Andrea. “Roe v. Wade: The Mental and Physical Health Effects of Anti-Abortion Laws.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 June 2022, www.healthline.com/health-news/roe-v-wade-the-mental-and-physical-health-effects-of-anti-abortion-laws.