WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a joint statement from the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:
“We are profoundly disappointed that the nation’s highest court has ruled that there is no longer a constitutional right for individuals to access abortion services, rejecting nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. This is a very personal decision and will lead to adverse mental health consequences for people seeking to exercise bodily autonomy in making critical decisions related to their own reproductive health. Decades of scientific research have shown 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 abortion services.
“Research also demonstrates a strong relationship between unwanted pregnancy and interpersonal violence. Specifically, the research suggests that the inability to obtain an abortion increases the risk for domestic abuse among those who are forced to stay in contact with violent partners, putting them and their children at risk.
“The impacts of this decision will fall hardest on people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care—particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet.
“Our nation is already experiencing a mental health crisis. This is yet another factor that will contribute to negative mental health outcomes for our society.
“The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers pledge to work with Congress and state policymakers in an effort to protect access and availability of abortion services. We also pledge work to ensure that mental health and medical professionals are not criminalized for doing their jobs in supporting pregnant people in making difficult decisions regarding reproductive health care needs.”
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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.