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This article, first published by Frontiers Media, is the author's final published version in Frontiers in Psychiatry, Volume 14, 2023, Article number 1087045.

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Copyright © 2023 Londoño Tobón, McNicholas, Clare, Ireland, Payne, Moore Simas, Scott, Becker and Byatt.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson in June 2022 reversed precedent which had previously protected abortion prior to fetal viability as a universal right within the United States. This decision almost immediately led to abortion restrictions across 25 states. The resulting lack of access to abortion care for millions of pregnant people will have profound physical and mental health consequences, the full effects of which will not be realized for years to come. Approximately 1 in 5 women access abortions in the U.S. each year. These women are diverse and represent all American groups. The Supreme court decision, however, will affect populations that have and continue to be marginalized the most. Forcing pregnant individuals to carry unwanted pregnancies worsens health outcomes and mortality risk for both the perinatal individual and the offspring. The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates and this rate is projected to increase with abortion bans. Abortion policies also interfere with appropriate medical care of pregnant people leading to less safe pregnancies for all. Beyond the physical morbidity, the psychological sequelae of carrying a forced pregnancy to term will lead to an even greater burden of maternal mental illness, exacerbating the already existing maternal mental health crisis. This perspective piece reviews the current evidence of abortion denial on women's mental health and care. Based on the current evidence, we discuss the clinical, educational, societal, research, and policy implications of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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