The impact of abortion bans on mental health | Johns Hopkins University

The impact of abortion bans on mental health | Johns Hopkins University

The Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling overturned Roe v. Wade It overturned 50 years of federal abortion rights and left the issue of abortion rights to individual states.Immediately afterwards Dobbs After the decision, 13 states launched long-awaited trigger laws promising to ban or restrict abortions once they occur roe was overturned.

How do these trigger laws affect the mental health of people in these states?

A recent analysis National survey data conducted by researchers at the Bloomberg School found that respondents in states with abortion bans experienced a small but statistically significant increase in self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. Dobbs Compared to states without bans. The change was most pronounced among women aged 18 to 45 years.

In a Q&A, the lead author Benjamin Thornburg, Ph. D. Candidates health policy and managementand senior author Matthew EisenbergThe findings illustrate the multifaceted impact of the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy, said Dr. Dobbs Decide. They also discuss how states are responding and how state abortion bans could impact service delivery and even medical education.

why is it possible Dobbs Could the decision lead to increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, even for women who are not pregnant or are currently being denied abortions?

Benjamin Thornburg: There are many underlying mechanisms at play. In a very important case in 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Part of the Supreme Court’s argument is that reproductive autonomy is closely tied to personal and economic freedom. These can be said to be closely related to mental health. I think this makes it clear that people who are not actively seeking abortions may be concerned about the risk of living in a state where they or someone they know needs an abortion but is unable to get one. These risks can affect a person’s overall sense of security. It’s an unsettling feeling that abortion rights, once protected by the federal government, have disappeared in a single day.

What are the wider implications of rising levels of anxiety and depression in the population?

Matthew Eisenberg: direct impact Dobbs The decision restricted abortion in several states. But as this study shows, there are also second- and third-order effects of policy that we can quantify.

As states consider new policies regarding reproductive health, they need to consider the broader mental health impacts of these policies. The need for or utilization of mental health services may increase in the future, particularly in states with abortion bans.

How do your findings add to existing research on abortion bans and mental health?

BT: This is the first evidence we have Dobbs This policy banning abortion was not specifically designed to affect mental health, but it does have an impact on it. This also has implications for the delivery of mental health services.

Previous research Dobbs The decision focuses heavily on the mental health impact of denying access to abortion. One of the important implications of this study is that we found similar patterns at the population level. This is troubling, especially in an era when reproductive policy is less certain than it was just a few years ago.

The study suggests you now plan to examine other potential impacts Dobbs. What’s next?

BT: The next step is to viewDobbsImpacts on the healthcare workforce include national residency matches for medical graduates – a critical step in the physician training process.We anticipate that health care providers will change where they attend training programs, with the direct impact likely to be changes in the quality of health care provided [in states with abortion bans].

Historically, students have been willing to travel great distances to attend their preferred residency program. Typically, residents stay in the state where they trained to practice.But the following Dobbs, residents may be less willing to participate in plans in states that ban abortion. For example, aspiring obstetricians and gynecologists do not have access to the comprehensive training they previously received in states where abortion is prohibited, which clearly prevents them from enrolling in these programs. Adverse effects may accumulate there.

Annalize Winnie is a writer and producer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


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