"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Abortion restrictions are changing what it means to be young in America.

Adolescence and adolescence are a time of identity formation, when young people discover who they're and who they need to be. One of their ways is to reflect on the world around them, deal with social issues and start to grasp their society and their place in it. Laws and policies signal to young people what society thinks about their value, their role in society and their opportunities for the longer term.

But the experience of growing up within the post-Roe v. Wade era looks very different than it did before the 50-year precedent was overturned in 2022.

After the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision, greater than half of American teenagers, ages 13-19, now live in such a state. There is no severely limited or legal abortion access.. As a result, today's youth are coming of age in what one expert in health law and bioethics calls.Period of relinquishment of rights

I'm a developmental psychologist and population health scientist who studies Adolescent development and sexual and reproductive healthand it is evident to me from various indications that, since Dobbs, the experience of adolescence and young maturity in America has fundamentally modified.

Abortion bans are affecting not only those that need abortions, but a complete generation.

How young people view Dobbs' decision

In 2022, my colleagues and I conducted a national survey of 14- to 24-year-olds, which began shortly after. The opinion of the Supreme Court In the case of.

We asked them about their knowledge of the Dobbs decision, how they feel about it and the way they imagine it's affecting the lives of young people of their state. Our research shows that almost all Young people are aware and alert about it. The Dobbs decision and its implications.

Our own research and other emerging data clarify that abortion restrictions affect not only young individuals who turn into pregnant or seek abortions. These restrictions are affecting how young people take into consideration voting, where they need to decide to live, study and work, and learn how to control their fertility. Abortion restrictions also can have serious effects on the mental health of young people.

More than 70% of teens said reproductive rights laws in states affected where they'd decide to attend college.

Voting Implications

There are about 8 million youth. Be newly eligible to vote in 2024. Research shows that young individuals are More likely to support abortion rights..

Abortion a The top issue currently motivating young voters.. Change Research present in its most up-to-date national poll that 3 in 4 young voters imagine abortion ought to be legal in all or most cases.

More than half of young voters say they'd not vote for a candidate whose position on abortion differs from theirs. Young people reported this within the 2022 midterm elections. Abortion was the top issue influencing their vote.

How can these young people vote? Shape the 2024 elections at the national and state levels. in necessary ways. Their votes can serve directly as a referendum on reproductive rights in states where the difficulty is on the ballot and not directly by shaping who young people need to represent.

Where to go to school, live and work after Roe.

High school seniors are considering abortion access when deciding where to attend college. More than 70% were reported. Considering access to reproductive health care of their college decisions.

Abortion access also matters to those entering the workforce. In a recent national survey, two-thirds of young employees said they don't need to Live in a state that bans abortion..

Another survey found that 60% of young individuals are women. More motivated to move to another state. Now that their state has passed an abortion ban, or if their state has banned it.

Fertility management

After Dobbs, young people's access to contraceptive services can also be changing.

In March 2024, an appeals court in Texas ruled that the state could. Illegal provider of contraception to minors Without parental consent at Title X clinics that receive federal funding to offer confidential contraception no matter age, income or immigration status. This order Only confidential access to contraception was removed. Available to youth on this state.

Recent research that my colleagues conducted with college students in several US southeastern states. Shows that they are worried. That more legal restrictions on contraception are coming. In our study, A young man reported.: “I fear these changes are a precursor to more stringent laws on contraception and health care. I fear for the rights and bodies of people like me and less fortunate.”

A wave of young individuals are choosing sterilization.

Some young people have already taken everlasting measures to avoid pregnancy. There has been a major increase within the variety of youth on the national level. Choosing to undergo permanent sterilization, either vasectomy or tubal ligation. The effects are best for tubal ligation. The rate of tubal ligation was increasing before Dobbs, but immediately after Dobbs, A large national study found That rate has increased by about 20 percent and continues to grow at about twice the pre-Dobbs rate.

This increase is a sign that some young people simply don't want to take the possibility of getting pregnant or getting pregnant when comprehensive reproductive health care is unavailable or in danger.

Effects on mental health

Emerging data show that mental health outcomes are worse in states with abortion bans.

For example, a recent large, national study examined changes in mental health symptoms within the months before and after the Dobbs decision, comparing people living in states with abortion bans to those living in states with abortion bans. I in comparison with individuals who live in states without trigger bans. A trigger restriction was a Designed to “enable” the law, or will take effect as soon because the legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade not applies. The study found that girls (but not men) ages 18 to 45 in states with trigger bans Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression After Dobbs announced the abortion decision, in comparison with women living in states without such restrictions.

Unfortunately, the study didn't include youth under the age of 18, nor did it look individually at young adults, who've most of their childbearing years ahead of them, to find out whether For how they're affected. Excluding youth from research and lumping them along with middle-aged adults is a standard occurrence in studies specializing in abortion access and outcomes, highlighting a problematic practice. A recent expert consensus report.

Scholars predict mental health consequences of reproductive health care restrictions It will be tougher on historically disadvantaged populations.. I hope it is going to involve young people.

Our initial research shows that many young individuals are. Experiencing significant stress and anxiety As a result of fixing access to abortion. When describing her feelings concerning the verdict, one young woman said, “I feel so many things. Anger, sadness, anger. It makes me fear for my future and for other women.