Public Issue Statements

APA warns of immediate and long-term psychological impacts of violence, including fear and trauma 

WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association has condemned in no uncertain terms the recent violent attack by Hamas on Israel. 

We also are deeply disturbed by the crisis of human suffering and loss of life and liberty for civilians who are caught in this escalating conflict.  

We recognize that the situation is complicated, but there can be no justification for acts of indiscriminate violence. There can be no justification for holding people hostage. There can be no justification for cutting off access to basic necessities, such as electricity, food and medicine. 

APA is gravely concerned for the physical safety and mental health of the millions of Israelis and Palestinians affected by this growing surge in violence. APA deplores the human cost of aggression, including violations of human rights, adverse humanitarian consequences, deep psychological distress, and the loss of dignity and freedom. All individuals deserve to live free of fear and violence so that their mental health and well-being can flourish. 

We also condemn the rise of anti-Jewish and anti-Arab rhetoric as a result of this most recent conflict.
There is much research outlining the immediate and long-term psychological impacts of violence and trauma on the people who are targets, especially civilians.

Psychological science tells us that fear, anxiety and traumatic stress have long-term effects on health and well-being. These impacts are also being felt by people around the world who have families and friends in the region, as well as those concerned about the effects of war everywhere.  
The psychology community stands in solidarity with all who are working to protect and safeguard human life during this conflict. Psychologists are expert in the science of human behavior. Problems cannot be solved without understanding their root cause. Prevention of violent conflict is imperative for a world in which mental health and well-being are the norm, and to achieve peaceful, sustainable societies. We call for peace, dialogue and conflict resolution as a pathway to ending the conflict, which is necessary for us to begin the work to prevent the suffering that will continue to result from ongoing violence. 


APA Stands Up for Reproductive Justice

Written by: Nancy Felipe Russo, PhD
In February 2022, the APA Council passed a Reproductive Rights resolution that denounced restrictions on abortion access and reaffirmed APA’s commitment to ensuring reproductive justice for all women.[1] The resolution was timely. Four months later, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization[2] overturned Roe v. Wade[3], spawning rapid multiplication of draconian efforts to deny access to safe and legal abortion at state and local levels. Currently, there are even attempts to deny access to the abortion medication mifepristone, which is used within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, in some states a pregnant woman’s family, friends, and even health care providers (including psychologists) can face legal penalties for helping her obtain an abortion, even if the procedure is legal and across state lines. 

Oregon psychologists who provide services clients across state lines–telehealth services in particular–need to be familiar with the laws in the jurisdictions where their patients live.[4] The situation is in flux. Fortunately, the Guttmacher Institute (AGI) website is a useful resource. In addition to information on relevant research and policy studies, AGI has an interactive map of state laws that is regularly updated.[5]

The APA resolution included a call for public education efforts designed to increase understanding of how denying access to reproductive health care creates health inequities in a host of populations, ultimately undermining reproductive justice for all. More recently, APA has spotlighted how restrictions on reproductive care inflict a significant physical and mental health burden that ripples across generations—especially for people of color.[6] 

Given that the Oregon Constitution protects health equity and access to medical procedures that terminate pregnancy,[7] Oregon’s health care providers, including psychologists, have special roles to play in addressing the physical and mental health needs of out-of-state abortion patients. The good news is that our State’s reproductive rights advocates and service providers have solid backing from Oregon’s Attorney General’s office. In addition to providing information on state policies and programs related to abortion rights, the AG website provides contact information for a Reproductive Rights Hotline staffed by Oregon law firms providing free legal advice on reproductive health laws.[8]

Unfortunately, misinformation about widespread and severe negative effects of abortion on mental health continues to abound, despite multiple reviews of the literature that conclude otherwise. APA is committed to ensuring psychologists have access to up-to-date knowledge to assist in separating fact from fiction. The APA website contains a wealth of information addressing frequently asked questions, including what happens when abortion is denied and what is the impact of stigma, barriers, and inequities on women denied an abortion.[9] 

This year the APA Convention will offer a host of informative sessions related to abortion and reproductive justice issues more broadly. Among them is a Critical Conversation that addresses mental health issues sponsored by APA’s Divisions for Social Justice (DSJ) and offered for CE credit: 

DSJ Collaborative Session - ID: 438 
APA and Abortion: From Reproductive Rights to Reproductive Justice
Participants: Nancy Felipe Russo (Chair), Carolyn West, Monica Ulibarri

Presentation Title: Overview: Why the insistence that abortion damages women’s health?
Date: August 04, 2023
Time: 2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Room 150B
Session Description:
This session focuses on the history and impact of pseudoscientific research claiming abortion harms women's mental health and considers how abortion stigma, cumulative adversity, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation undermine reproductive justice.

The anti-abortion movement that emerged post Roe has focused on stigmatizing abortion and on justifying passage of laws mandating inaccurate and degrading informed consent procedures.  In the process, contextual effects of racial, social, and economic injustice as well as gender-based violence have been misattributed or ignored. Using a reproductive justice lens, panelists will consider pregnancy issues and outcomes hallmarked by racial/ethnic oppression, economic injustice, and gender-based violence, focusing on violence experienced by black women and on the sexual exploitation of trafficked and enslaved women.

Takeaway 1: Be equipped to counter anti-abortion arguments promoting pseudoscientific findings used to stigmatize abortion patients and justify legally mandated draconian informed consent procedures.

Takeaway 2: Be able to explain how social/situational determinants undermine ability to plan reproductive life, including childhood adversity, physical and sexual abuse, and gender-based violence.

The attack on a woman’s right to plan the timing and number of her children is going to be increasingly intense in the 2024 election year. The use of misinformation about the relation of abortion and mental health to attack health equity and reproductive rights can be expected to increase as well.  Psychologists in Oregon have important roles to play as researchers, service providers, and public policy advocates in sorting fact from myth, and in countering misinformation and stigma that can undermine the mental health of Oregon women.


Watch this space! 
[1] APA Resolution Affirming and Building on APA’s History of Support for Reproductive Rights


[3]  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

[4] Frequently asked questions about abortion laws and psychology practice (

[5] Abortion | Guttmacher Institute

[6] Abortion bans cause outsized harm for people of color (

[7] FactSheet Abortion Access in Oregon.pdf (


[9] The facts about abortion and mental health (



AMENA-Psy Statement on the Killing of Mahsa Amini and Solidarity with Iranian Women and Iranian People

AMENA-Psy strongly condemns the Islamic Republic (IR) of Iran’s brutal murder of 22 year-old Mahsa (“Zhina/Jina” in Kurdish) Amini in Iran on September 16, 2022. We also strongly condemn the IR’s violent response to ensuing mass protests in the country, which has so far resulted in hundreds of deaths, countless injuries, and thousands of arrests. Iranian protesters are putting their lives at risk to call attention to the human rights abuses surrounding Ms. Amini’s unjust imprisonment and murder, which the IR continues to ruthlesslessly deny. We are devastated and heartbroken over the death of Ms. Amini. We grieve for her family and community, and the subsequent deaths of protesters who have gathered in the aftermath of Ms. Amini’s death.

AMENA-Psy stands in solidarity with Iranian women and the Iranian people who are struggling for an equitable and just Iran. As many protesters have underscored, this movement that has coalesced around the death of Mahsa Amini is not rooted in devaluing Islam, Muslim women, or the hijab as an important religious practice for many Muslims both inside and outside Iran. Rather, this movement, and AMENA-Psy’s solidarity with those who are engaged in the uprising, seeks the restoration of human rights to Iranian women who have been degraded for decades under the IR’s repressive rule.

While there are many factors that have led Iran, a country with a rich cultural and political history that stretches back thousands of years, to this boiling point, the death of a young 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman was a critical spark that fanned the flames of dissent long burning in Iranian society. Led by Iranian women—many of whom are Muslim, but also who range from a diversity of various ethnic and religious backgrounds including but not limited to Zoroastrians, Christians, Baha’is and Jews—the people of Iran are rising up in the streets and demanding their liberation from a government that views them as little more than objects to be manipulated as a false symbol of their power and control.

Iranian women are unwilling to be forcibly enlisted as symbols of this oppressive government. Whether by dancing in the streets, burning their hijabs, or raising their voices and fists in protest, Iranian women are on the front lines of a fight for freedom that stretches from this storied country in the Middle East and North Africa, across the streets of Palestine, Cairo and Kabul to Washington, DC and even Kansas City. We should not imagine that Iranian struggles for liberation led by Iranian women, who are burning the symbol of their imprisoners in the heart of their nation’s capital, are limited to the fight for justice in the narrowest sense. Rather, Iranian women’s efforts to incinerate control over their bodies and for self-determination are part of a global struggle against forces that seek to use women’s bodies as a tool to assert power and control.

The slogan of “Zan! Zendegi! Azadi!” (“Women! Life! Freedom!” in English, and in Kurdish, “Jin! Jiyan! Azadi!”) reverberates daily and powerfully on streets all over Iran. It joins other slogans that notably integrate Iranian men and Iranian people on the whole, thus ushering in an intersectional rebirth of a centuries-long fight for justice that defies narrow interpretation and, instead, demands liberation in the fullest sense. AMENA-Psy is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Iranian siblings in this fight, and we encourage others to join us.

As a first step, we invite you to share this statement within your networks. We also invite you to engage in educating yourself on this topic by browsing the hashtags below on social media platforms, and reading the articles linked below. However, no single article, op-ed, tweet, or statement can encompass the diversity and complexity of demands of an entire nation. So, we also encourage you to keep abreast of Iranians’ struggles for liberation as a regular practice.


For more information on Iranian protests, please see:

Resources to help:
Donate to human rights organizations:

The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Center for Human Rights in Iran
Amnesty International
The Human Rights Activists News Agency
1500 Tasvir

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).

News Links:
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.

News Links:
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.

News Links:
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.

News Links:
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

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.


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)