Excluding mental health conditions is likely to have downstream consequences.
Posted March 27, 2023
By A. Alban Foulser, M.A., and Sophie Arkin, M.A., on behalf of the Atlanta Behavioral Health Advocates
The ban on abortions after six weeks following the overturning of Roe v. Wade is an enormous threat to the reproductive freedom and well-being of Americans (Rahman & Fellow, 2022). Many states allow exceptions to abortion restrictions for severe health risks or medical emergencies (Schoenfeld Walker, 2023); however, in states such as Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Florida, mental health conditions are explicitly excluded from qualifying as such medical emergencies (Tanner, 2022).
This denial of mental illness as a legitimate reason to obtain an abortion is inconsistent with the biopsychosocial model of medicine, which considers the role of mental health, biology, and sociocultural factors such as generational racial trauma, poverty, and food insecurity on physical health (Engel, 1977).