On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its infamous opinion overturning the nearly 50-year-old landmark case of Roe v. Wade, which established a federal constitutional right to abortion. The court’s shameful decision triggered a cascade of abortion bans in states across the country, as anti-abortion politicians rushed to introduce bills pushing access to essential health care out of reach or blocking it entirely.
This devastating blow to civil rights and bodily autonomy. For some, the impact was immediate: appointments at some clinics were canceled, patients seeking care were forced to travel across state lines, and others had to carry pregnancies that endangered their health. For others, the impact took shape over the course of the last year, triggering career shifts, changing education plans, and questioning life plans.
We wanted to learn more about how the overturn of Roe impacted your lives over the course of the last year, so we put out a call and asked you to share your stories. Hundreds of people from across the country responded and told us how your lives were altered by the Supreme Court’s decision. Kendall Ciesemier, the host of our podcast At Liberty, spoke to a few of you for this week’s episode, which you can listen to here. Below, you can read some of the responses we gathered, which have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us.
“My husband and I’ve been planning baby number two for quite some time, and were really excited to bring another bundle of joy into the world … Right around the 10-week mark, I was experiencing some miscarriage symptoms, kind of freaked out, went to the E.R. in Baton Rouge … But they would not confirm that it was a miscarriage or not. One of the nurses there literally sent me home just saying, ‘I’m sitting at home with prayers.’ She just wouldn’t have the conversation. I went to a different hospital the next day … the bleeding, all of that got extremely worse, I was passing tissue at this point. So a couple days went by, the symptoms just got worse. I finally ended up at a local facility auction and one of the midwives there saw me. I’m forever grateful to her and she confirmed that I was having a miscarriage like days later. And I just thought … like how many women of color are experiencing this and, quite frankly, how many white women are not? I just can’t help but think how many lives are going to be lost as a result of folks just being turned away.” — Kaitlyn
I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get access to abortion and it destroyed me mentally. I have never regretted my decision and I never will. My life matters, I matter. What I want out of life matters.”
“We were really excited because it had been almost two years of wanting to have another baby and not being able to. And then the nightmares set in. Basically, from the time I found out I was pregnant at three weeks until my first scan, every single night I was having dreams that we went in to have the scan done and something had happened to the baby. It was just constant. Like I would just wake up convinced that something had happened. After the first scan, the dreams turned into these post-apocalyptic nightmares. And I don’t watch scary movies. I don’t consume scary media. My dreams are worse than anything I would ever consent to viewing or doing in my real life…I think there’s this idea that it’s abortion is just about ‘I don’t want a kid.’ And it’s more than that.” — Katherine
“You know, it makes me take a step back from even wanting to date — to be perfectly honest, it makes me not even want to go there because of the off chance that something could happen … It’s made relationships end very quickly … If I were to get pregnant, it would be fatal to the embryo and me. It’s just made it so that I tend to pull back a little bit more and not have that connection with other people. ” — Margaret
“I’m an OBGYN and I lived in Oklahoma for 10 years, and then just moved to Washington, D.C. three weeks ago. [After the Dobbs decision], I could not give my patients any resources to figure out where to go for abortion care. We got word that there had been threats of violence against our clinics. So all of these things kind of came together. The law that I can’t talk to my patients, that terrible gun control, and the real threats of violence. And ultimately, I decided, hey, I either need to stay and be willing to fight. And I did consider that … I thought about running for local office and really trying to make a difference. And ultimately, I decided I couldn’t put my family through that and worry about, you know, my clinics or my job or anything like that. So ultimately we decided to leave…We had a really good life there and it was really, really sad to leave.” — Kate
I have rheumatoid arthritis along with Ehlers-Danlos and I live in constant threat of my medication, Methotrexate, [a medication that is also used for abortions] being taken away from me. I really would like to stay healthy. I’m very concerned for the future of this country.”
“Because of Justice Thomas’ concurrence stating that Obergefell v. Hodges may need a closer look, which was the decision that allowed us to legally marry, my now wife and I became very scared and decided that we were going to forgo a big wedding and marry at the courthouse. Our families are still not very happy with us about the decision.” — Shelby