The recent news about the overturning of Roe vs Wade by the Supreme Court in America has caused a lot of challenging feelings across the globe. It’s a topic that everyone will have individual and personal feelings about, and it’s important to consider that. Many women have voiced on social media that they feel like their rights are being violated, and that the system has control over their bodies and choices. Abortion rights are crucial for so many reasons. Women should have autonomy over their bodies. Having a baby comes with huge responsibility, sacrifice and risks, it’s a decision that should be made by the person themselves - not the system, or anyone else. So how can we cope with all the difficult feelings that this might bring for us, even here in the UK? Read on for some tips from us for coping and dealing with this news.
Women have faced many issues across history when it comes to inequality and injustice. They have had to fight for their rights, and if we look back in time, a lot of progress has been made! From gaining the right to vote to women in leadership positions, there has been significant change and progress in gender equality. So something as serious as taking away women’s reproductive and sex-based rights seems like we are regressing incredibly.
What actually happened in America?
The US Supreme Court overturned the right to access an abortion for women under the constitution, which means in certain American states accessing an abortion will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. The decision has made a huge impact, dividing opinion across the country - and the rest of the globe too. People are protesting against the recent overturning of the Roe v Wade ruling (a landmark decision of 1973 that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to have an abortion), feeling outraged that such a decision has been made and put in place.
This decision will change the lives of so many women and people across America, and it’s not surprising that it’s triggering fear and emotional responses from women in other areas of the world too.
We acknowledge how awfully difficult and scary this must be for the women of America, so here’s 3 ways you can help from the UK:
If you feel passionate about this issue and want to make a change, it can feel like you have no power and like it’s pretty useless all the way from the UK. Luckily, there is a petition you can sign to call for the UK government to condemn the bid to overturn Roe v Wade.
If you are wanting to read more on the topic, access more resources to educate yourself, donate to appropriate charities who are supporting the issue, or find events you can participate in to show your support, there is plenty of information you can find on the Abortion Rights website.
Another useful site to use is Abortion Funds, where you can donate to their work, or find individual groups and states you can donate funds to helping with this issue.
This topic will be very triggering for many women, wherever they might be in the world. It will understandably make many women feel scared, unsafe, in danger, confused and angry. The frustration of an unbelievably unfair decision that is completely out of control can be almost paralysing.
So how can we cope and deal with what we know about what’s happening in America?
First things first, make absolutely sure that you are looking after yourself. When we hear things that trigger us emotionally, we need to put things in place that will help us get through. It might be calling a friend, distracting ourselves with our favourite music or TV show, being mindful and present, or giving ourselves a great big hug. Do things that comfort you when hard feelings arise, as difficult as this can be, it helps us feel safe in times of uncertainty and fear.
When those emotions come up, acknowledge them. Now, you don’t have to sit in a pit of complete despair if you don’t want to or it just doesn’t feel right, but try not to push your feelings away. Listen to them, let them come up if they need to, write down what’s going on for you at that moment. And just let them be. Remind yourself that it’s ok to have these feelings, it’s natural, we’re human! They will come and go, and probably come back again, but giving them the space they need is crucial to learning how to get through to the other side in a way that’s healthy and compassionate.
Know what is in your control, and what isn’t. The information above, and plenty more resources you can find online, will allow us to understand what we can do in this situation. However, catastrophizing over the things that are completely out of our hands can send us into a spiral of severe anxiety. It’s uncomfortable, we know. But just knowing what we can do right now will enable us to think more clearly and make informed decisions, rather than getting carried away with illogical thoughts.
Final thoughts: Abortion is healthcare. The right to our own bodies is the most basic expectation of being human. Let’s take care of each other, but also ourselves. Understanding that topics like this (even if they feel like they’re super far away) can really impact our emotional wellbeing is step one to dealing with how it’s impacting us, and then we can start to think about how we can help ourselves and eventually others in need of our support. Spend time doing what feels right in your eyes, not getting caught up and distracted in the following the news right now. It’s confusing and sometimes unhelpful. There are ways to help that don’t involve putting our own wellbeing at risk.
Singer, J. (2022). Roe v Wade has been overturned. Here’s what you need to know. Glamour Magazine. Available at: https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/roe-v-wade-overturned-supreme-court [Accessed: 27/06/22]
Shi, D. (2022). How to help protect reproductive rights: 7 things you can do after Roe v Wade is overturned. Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/90748807/how-to-help-protect-reproduction-rights-4-things-you-can-do-with-roe-v-wade-under-threat [Accessed 27/06/22]
Watkins, E. (2022). How you can help women now that Roe v Wade has been overturned. Grazia. Available at: https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/in-the-news/roe-v-wade-how-to-help-abortion/ [Accessed 27/06/22]
Abortion Rights UK website: https://abortionrights.org.uk/
Donate to National Network of Abortion Funds: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/supportabortionfunds
Donate to Center for Reproductive Rights: https://reproductiverights.org/?df=y
Sign the petition to call for the UK government to condemn the bid to overturn Roe v Wade: https://bpas-campaigns.org/campaigns/roe-v-wade/