On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States voted to overturn, and therefore eliminate, the constitutional right to an abortion first established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. This marks the first time in U.S. history that a constitutional right has been taken away.
This news comes as a devastating blow to many people who can get pregnant and their allies. The removal of this once federally protected right means a disruption to medical care, life and family planning, contraception access, freedom of choice and bodily autonomy for many across the nation. This decision also sets the precedence for the possibility of overturning other federally protected civil rights that are currently under a microscope, such as marriage equity.
Psychological and Wellness Services understands how this decision can have an adverse impact on mental health and our overall well-being. We recognize that this decision especially impacts historically marginalized womxn, BIPOC womxn, and womxn with limited financial resources. While this decision may make many feel as if they have been forced to step back in time, we are hopeful progress will persevere, even if not in a continuous forward direction.
It’s normal to feel anxiety and/or stress during times of change, especially when that change is related to a topic as controversial as abortion in an unprecedented time. Remember to focus on what you can control, such as your thoughts and actions, when anxious and/or stressed. Consider reaching out to resources and support services if you are overwhelmed.
What does this mean for access to abortion?
The overturn of Roe v. Wade means that access to abortion now varies by state. Access varies widely across states, with some having complete bans on abortions, making it illegal, and some states having few to no restrictions on abortions. In Washington State, people of any age have the right to independently consent for or to refuse their own abortion care. Abortion remains accessible with few restrictions in Washington State.
Tips for Coping
Although many are likely experiencing similar levels of anxiety about the overturn of Roe v. Wade, acknowledge that others may be experiencing more anxiety than you while others may be experiencing less. Our values, experiences, personal circumstances, and coping strategies shape our comfort level with the decision and the respective anxiety we may feel about it. Consider setting boundaries around the people, news outlets and media who may cause you distress around this topic.
Schedule in time in your day-to-day life for self-care activities. Activities that reduce your stress, help ground you in the present moment and identify feelings and emotions are great self-care strategies. Consider incorporating practices like deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation to help you focus on the present and move your thoughts away from the anxiety-inducing concerns. Maintain a routine that works for you:
- Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night and get up at the same time each day
- Enjoy satisfying and filling meals and snacks
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise in ways that are meaningful to you
- Set at least one accomplishable daily goal
- Be mindful of moderation and practice harm reduction strategies if you choose to use drugs and alcohol
Staying connected with supportive family, friends, and loved ones that you feel safe with during times of change and stress can be a helpful coping strategy.
Know Your Options & Resources
Psychological and Wellness Services (PAWS) provides intentional, problem-focused mental health counseling, aimed at building better skills and exploring alternative ways of coping. All services are free and confidential for current students. Students have access to PAWS during summer quarter if they were registered for spring 2022 and are registered for autumn 2022 quarter.
The UW Tacoma has partnered with MySSP to provide current students 24/7 access to free, real-time, confidential mental health support. MySSP counselors are licensed mental health therapists with experience supporting the unique challenges faced by college students and are familiar with UW Tacoma resources. Students may also access MySSP at any time, day or night, for crisis support.
Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, inclusive, and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services; provides medically accurate and age-appropriate education that advances the understanding if human sexuality, healthy relationships, and body autonomy; and advocates for public policies that protect and expand reproductive rights and access to health care. Men and male-identified and non-binary folks are welcome to use services at Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood also provides abortion services based on location and the state the clinic is located in.
Make an appointment online or over the phone to the Tacoma Health Center location. If you are uninsured, you may qualify for a state-funded program or a lower fee scale.
Services at the Tacoma Health Center location include:
- Primary Care
- Birth Control
- Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines
- Pregnancy Testing & Services
- Abortion Referrals
- HIV Services
- Men's Health Care
- Women's Health Care
- Transgender Hormone Therapy
The Washington State Department of Health provides is great starting point for any Washington state resident looking for information on abortion, including the level of accessibility, how to find an abortion provider, how to pay for an abortion, insurance coverage in Washington State and more.
Student Health provides an overview of sexual health information including STIs, STI testing and prevention, HIV, contraception, and more. The page also includes links to more specific topics such as abortion.
Order free safer sex supplies through UW Tacoma Student Health and discreetly pick-up on campus.
Once you complete your order, the Health Promotion Specialist will reach out to you via your UW email address to confirm your order and schedule a time for you to pick up your supplies. The Condom Order Form is not anonymous however order recipient names are private. There is no limit to the number of times a student may place an order, though bulk orders may not be met based on inventory size. Contact the Specialist at email@example.com with questions and concerns.
Supplies are based on current inventory and include:
- Latex, lubricated external (male) condoms (10 count)
- Latex, non-lubricated external (male) condom (10 count)
- Non-latex, lubricated external (male) condoms (10 count)
- Non-latex, silicone-based lubricated internal (female) condoms (5 count)
- Single use water-based lubricant packets (10 count)
- Specialty condoms (studded condoms, extra strength, etc. based on current inventory) (5 count)