Public Issue Statements 

OPA Stands Behind APA Outcry Regarding SCOTUS Decision on Abortion

The American Psychological Association expressed deep concern and profound disappointment in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

“This ruling ignores not only precedent but science, and will exacerbate the mental health crisis America is already experiencing,” said APA President Frank C. Worrell, PhD. “We are alarmed that the justices would nullify Roe despite decades of scientific research demonstrating that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.

“A person’s ability to control when and if they have a child is frequently linked to their socioeconomic standing and earning power. Therefore, restricting access to safe, legal abortions is most likely to affect those living in poverty, people of color, and sexual and gender identity minorities, as well as those who live in rural or medically underserved areas.”

Pushing decisions regarding the legality of abortion to the states guarantees that an untold number of people will no longer be able to access the procedure, he said. “And the fact that at least 13 states have ‘trigger laws’ automatically implementing abortion restrictions puts people in immediate jeopardy,” Worrell said. 

Research also suggests that adding barriers to accessing abortion services may increase symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, according to Worrell.

“The number of unsafe abortions is likely to increase as a result of this decision,” Worrell said. 

Research also demonstrates a strong relationship between unwanted pregnancy and interpersonal violence. Specifically, psychological science suggests that the inability to obtain an abortion increases the risk for domestic abuse among those who are forced to stay in contact with violent partners, putting them and their children at risk.

Finally, Worrell noted that by eliminating the constitutional right to privacy, the Supreme Court is opening the door to curtailing other rights, including the right to obtain contraception legally and same-sex marriage—both of which APA supports based on the scientific research showing their denial can have negative mental health impacts. 

APA has long been a strong and consistent voice for equal access to reproductive health services. The association has passed four policies or resolutions since 1969 affirming a woman’s right to choose and negating assertions regarding the alleged adverse psychological effects of abortion. APA has also filed 11 amicus curiae briefs in cases involving abortion. The most recent policy (PDF, 72KB) was passed in February 2022.

For more information regarding APA’s advocacy and the science surrounding abortion and reproductive health, visit the abortion and mental health webpage.

 


 

The Oregon Psychological Association thanks Firefighters, First Responders, Medical Staff, Law Enforcement, and all volunteers and organizations coming to the aid of Oregon in unprecedented wildfires

The devastation of the Oregon Wildfires on the lives and communities of Oregon is incalculable, and it joins the irreversible impact on Oregonians of the global pandemic, racial injustice and political strife that we have been facing as providers and communities.

We have all struggled daily with the pull of the devastation. It is in these moments that we look to those who step out with courage and heroism, and we are inspired by the people of Oregon and our national and our international communities, who have come to our aid.

The Oregon Psychological Association and its members are proud to be a part of the communities that make up the state of Oregon. Oregonians, and members of our national and international community have come together in phenomenal ways during this crisis. Donations, volunteers, and teams of citizens across the state have risen to the occasion, providing every personal resource imaginable to support the needs of our communities.

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. - Arthur Ashe

To the firefighters at the front lines, risking their lives to save the people, animals, and homes of Oregonians, your sacrifices are beyond what we can repay. Our gratitude, like your sacrifice, is beyond what can be expressed. We thank you for braving horrific air conditions, heat, ash and the threat to your lives.

Currently, we have firefighters from Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Florida, Mexico, and Canada fighting fires in Oregon (and likely more who are yet to be credited by media).

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To the service members of the Oregon National Guard, who have been deployed to affected areas to join the firefighters, your sacrifices are beyond what we can repay. Our gratitude, like your sacrifice, is beyond what can be expressed. We thank you for braving horrific air conditions, heat, ash and the threat to your lives.

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To the first responders and medical professionals treating the wounded in the field, in hospitals, and those caring for the physical and emotional needs of people affected by the wildfires, we know and share the great emotional burden of responding to the immense needs of our communities while also being affected ourselves. Thank you.

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To the local sheriffs and police officers who are patrolling evacuated neighborhoods to look for missing persons, and protecting homes, we thank you for braving horrific air conditions, heat, ash and the threat to your lives to keep Oregonians safe.

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To the innumerable volunteers and organizations offering shelter, safety, resources, and support to the thousands of Oregonians and animals who have been displaced, we stand with you and for you as fellow Oregonians. We thank you for offering your time, money and selves to support the needs of the community around you.

How you can help:

OPA Statement: Black Lives Matter

The Oregon Psychological Association Board of Directors supports our community members who have endured and are protesting hundreds of years of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We want to be clear in stating as health service providers across the state, that indeed Black Lives Matter. 

Our most vulnerable communities are being disproportionately impacted by both the pandemics of racism and COVID-19. In addition to mental and physical consequences of the global Coronavirus pandemic, communities of color continue to disproportionately experience violence and loss of life. Mental trauma and physical trauma are increasing daily. Our Association is committed to learning from the painful history of our own profession when people in power did not speak up for justice, equity, and in some cases, engaged in damaging behaviors that perpetuated the colonization of Black, Indigenous, and communities of Color. We pledge today to stay grounded in the principles and values that should define our field.

The Multicultural Guidelines from the American Psychological Association clarify our profession's call to social and racial justice.

"Psychologists aspire to recognize and understand historical and contemporary experiences with power, privilege, and oppression. As such, they seek to address institutional barriers and related inequities, disproportionalities, and disparities of law enforcement, administration of criminal justice, educational, mental health, and other systems as they seek to promote justice, human rights, and access to quality and equitable mental and behavioral health services." (APA Multicultural Guidelines can be found at https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/01/multicultural-guidelines)

Regarding human rights, we are witnessing continued accounts of peaceful protestors being violently attacked and moved to undisclosed locations by armed, unidentified individuals without grounds for arrest on our streets. These acts are causing harm to our communities in Oregon. These tactics of violence and intimidation directly threaten the values of democracy including liberty, equality, and justice-they should not be tolerated or allowed.

Regarding justice, we aspire to continue to sound the alarm and stand with people who are being treated unjustly in our state. We invite our members to engage in ongoing education, self-reflection, advocacy, and action in order to use their privilege to fight against racism. As mental health professionals, we have a personal and professional responsibility to engage in this work and not become complacent-it is crucial to promoting mental health and wellness across the state of Oregon and beyond.

For our members and our allies, please review the following antiracism resources that promote justice, human rights, and quality mental healthcare. We invite you to learn more about how we individually and collectively can decolonize our institutions. We invite you to use your voices and power to take action against the violence that is taking place. We urge you to join us.

- Board of Directors, Oregon Psychological Association (OPA)


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

The Oregon Psychological Association (OPA) stands with the Minnesota Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, our sister psychological and mental health associations, civil rights organizations, and the people of the United States on the front lines of protest in condemning the racism and hate crimes that have been and are still being committed against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Institutional racism and hate crimes are a significant, present problem in our country, and unacceptable in any form. The Declaration of Independence of the United States upholds the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and the Constitution of the United States states that "We the people...establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility....promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

Black, Indigenous, People of Color have long been oppressed, maligned, and denied their due rights in this country, and it needs to end. The death of George Floyd is one of countless injustices toward BIPOC that we, as an organization of professionals and as Americans, need to work at every level to change, from individual examination of biases to policy and legal protections at the highest levels in the United States.

We encourage you to use OPA's Advocacy 101 tool to join the efforts to fight institutional racism, hate crimes, and the oppression of BIPOC.

We encourage you to read the Minnesota Psychological Association's Statement on the loss of George Floyd.

We encourage you to read APA’s action plan for addressing inequality.

We recognize that statements without action are hollow, and the OPA is committed to self-examination, evaluation of values, and action to better support our BIPOC community. We will be reviewing our mission and values as an organization at this year’s annual retreat in July, 2020, and we will partner with our BIPOC community members and our diversity committee to better understand and meet the needs of our community.


COVID-19

OPA Members and Colleagues,

You have likely been inundated with frequent updates, recommendations and information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The OPA would like to take this opportunity to state that we stand with our state's efforts to reduce exposure through "flattening the curve" by limiting gatherings and encouraging social distancing. More can be found here on the state office of emergency management page.
 

The OPA stands with the American Psychological Association in promoting the use of our skills to alleviate fear and anxiety, combat bigotry and provide much needed social support and processing during this distressing time:. Helpful link: A guide by APA on protecting your patients and practice through the COVID-19 pandemic. The OPA stands with our partnering state organizations in disseminating information and strongly encouraging methods of de-escalation of panic, reducing fear and its associated risks of bigotry and harm to vulnerable populations: Read here and here

Our Director of Professional Affairs, Dr. Susan Rosenzweig, has been actively tracking practice issues and reimbursement for telehealth, and disseminating information along with our members on the listserv. Roy Huggins of Person Centered Tech is offering quick and free telehealth webinar to aid with helping practices with rapid transition. (Register here)The OPA stands with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), the tireless efforts of our healthcare workers, and all emergency management workers who are treating the tide of this pandemicWe encourage and invite feedback, communication and ongoing collaboration as a community to meet the needs of our patients and our practices, and thank every member and Oregon psychologist for the front line support you are offering as we face this challenging time.

Thank you,
The Board of Directors of the Oregon Psychological Association (OPA)