Authored by the CACAP Advocacy Committee (Drs. S. Abidi, J. Guzder, C. Wilkes, I. Mian, J. Wittenberg, A. Gajaria, P. Anang, and R. Rasasingham)
The Canadian Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (CACAP) is deeply concerned and strongly disagrees with the U.S. Supreme Court decision made on June 24, 2022 overturning the previous decision on Roe v. Wade. Induced abortion, legal since 1973, is now fundamentally restricted, as is the ability for girls and women to exercise control over their reproductive health, specifically pertaining to the right to obtain safe abortions without legal consequences.
There is evidence that first trimester abortions do not negatively impact women’s mental health. Indeed, restricted access to abortion is known to increase risk for a variety of mental health problems1. The negative impact of this decision on the physical and mental health of youth and young adults has been felt not only in the United States but in countries around the world, as basic human rights are shockingly called into question. Many Canadian youth are experiencing mental distress associated with the question of whether their own right to make decisions for themselves, pertaining not only to reproductive health but also to other areas of health, identity, relationships or wellness, could be called into question.
CACAP is committed to emphasizing that health care is a basic human right and all aspects of health care including abortion must be protected. CACAP is concerned about our young population, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized. We urge all CACAP members to try to offer education, support and guidance to Canadian youth and families and to reassure them that CACAP advocates for the protection of basic human rights. This includes advocacy not only for the right of girls and women to make decisions about their reproductive health, but also to make available the necessary supports and services required to safely and effectively protect that right to choose.
Biggs, MA, Upadhyay, UD, & McCulloch, CE. (2017). Women’s mental health and well-being 5 years after receiving or being denied an abortion: A prospective, longitudinal cohort study. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(2), 169-178.