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  • Holly Timberlake, Ph.D.

Now, How Then Shall We Live? In the Time of the Roe Vs. Wade Overturn...

It is now always the question at the forefront of my awareness. As life has become increasingly more stressful for multiple reasons: Covid, climate volatility, The Russian war against the Ukraine, increased health issues… just to name some of the bigger ones…we are impacted at all levels of our beings: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and relational selves.

And now this…

Roe vs. Wade, has been the cornerstone of safety for women needing to end pregnancies for everything from rape to “accidents” because they aren’t in a position to well care for a new life, since 1973. The overturn has shocked and horrified many; brought fear and dread and deep concern over women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. I have clients who are being triggered by past traumas involving abortions and pregnancies. You may be experiencing this, too.

How is this affecting you? I’m writing this to offer support if you are feeling stressed and anxious about this for any reason. As you likely know, people all over this country, where according to Pew Research, in June, 2022, 61% of Americans support abortion rights, are very upset and standing up to say so, and many are feeling traumatized by this new reality. Are you feeling more stressed? More easily agitated? Angry? Scared? More exhausted, drained and not wanting to do anything? Are you being triggered by experiences in your past?

Decades ago Carol Gilligan wrote In a Different Voice, to study the way women made moral decisions. Turns out women TEND to make decisions based on our responsibilities to the world, whereas men TEND to make them according to the idea of rights and principles. She did her research partly at abortion clinics. She found women were making this choice concerned about what they couldn’t offer a child, how another child would impact the lives they were already responsible for, and by other demands & challenges. They made the decision largely based on their responsibilities in the world.

We do this when we have the freedom of choice to do so and yet domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking all aim to obliterate women’s freedom of choice. Given the centrality of forced sexuality among these groups, overturning Roe vs Wade poses additional serious challenges to these women already faced, especially when one lives outside of one of the 16 states (see below) that have pro-abortion laws. Abortions will continue as they have in the past, though at greater risk to the woman and at greater cost. And because this society is not structured to promote well-being for everyone, our social ills, including abuse, will increase.

Helping You Manage and Release Effects of Relational Trauma

Here at FREA, we want to help you manage and release the effects of relational trauma and to create for yourself and your family, a life of goodness, love, and wonderful possibilities. We do so, in large part, by providing you tools or exercises for emotional first aid, emotional regulation, and stress and trauma reduction. All those reactions I mentioned above? They can all be eased significantly by doing various exercises from our site. They are super easy and we walk you through each one with a very short video.

You will find a series of 15 “exercises” here that help you to help yourself emotionally. Even if you have never heard of these and don’t understand how they could help, I urge you to try them. They are surprisingly and amazingly helpful. The Thymus Thump alone, for example, can bring someone out of an anxiety attack; and paired with deep, releasing breaths, it’s even more quickly effective. People report feeling stronger, more relaxed, calmer, often noticing their heart rate slowing and breathing deepening.

Each “exercise” has a title and a short summary of what it helps. Choose the ones that seem most relevant and take the minute or so each one takes, to do it along with the video. None of these are the least bit harmful. At worst, you won’t feel any change, though this is rare. Also, it might take a little bit of time to recognize how it did help, even if you didn’t notice anything, at first. This is more true, the less in touch with your body you are.

If You Are Considering an Abortion

If you are considering an abortion here are some resources that could help you:

1) Planned Parenthood, that rock of services based on reproductive rights for women:. They will likely be the best source of information and direction for you, with their “Find an Abortion Clinic search,” and 24 hour chatline.

2) The National Network of Abortion Funds “is here to connect you with organizations that can support your financial and logistical needs as you arrange for your abortion.”

3) The NAF Hotline Fund provides callers with accurate information, confidential consultation, referrals to providers of quality abortion care, case management services, and limited financial assistance to help with care and travel-related expenses. Their hotline is 800.772.9100 and their referral line is 877.257.0012.

4) Apiary for Practical Support Offers a list of practical support for communities and individuals regarding abortions:

The state you live in now matters even more in terms of access to abortions. Sixteen states have laws protecting abortion; 17 have no laws one way or the other; 19 have versions of abortions bans or pre-viability bans (4 states). Look here for your state: Illinois is preparing to become an abortion refuge.

For those of you who are readers, this book sound just phenomenal! The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America, “the only guidebook of its kind,” offers much needed information from what to do if a person needs an abortion to advocacy and activism. It is currently on back order (not surprising) but you can purchase an e-Book form of it. Here’s a review of it:

It is “a comprehensive and user-friendly manual for understanding and preparing for the looming changes to reproductive rights law, and getting the health care you need. Activist and writer Robin Marty guides readers through various worst-case scenarios of a post-Roe America, and offers ways to fight back, including: how to acquire financial support, how to use existing networks and create new ones, and how to, when required, work outside existing legal systems. She details how to plan for your own emergencies, how to start organizing now, what to know about self-managed abortion care with pills and/or herbs, and how to avoid surveillance. The only guidebook of its kind, The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America includes new chapters that cover the needs and tools available for pregnant people across the country.

This second edition features extensively updated information on abortion legality and access in the United States, and approximately one hundred pages of new content, covering such topics as independent alternatives to Planned Parenthood, auntie networks, taxpayer-funded abortions, and using social media wisely in the age of surveillance.”

The following article written by Planned Parenthood, specifically focuses on the importance of abortion rights for women in abusive relationships: “I can’t have one more baby with this man”: Some domestic violence victims see abortion as vital (sic) option that would be lost post-Roe.

We all know this, yet, we need to acknowledge how important it is now for this community of survivors to have access to support and assistance when the kinds of dynamics that the article describes are all too well known.

Reading the above article may be triggering for you. If you suspect this is the case, I encourage you to tap while you read it, helping yourself to release upset as it arises consciously and subconsciously.

If You're New to Tapping

New to tapping? I suggest to people that they tap through either reading, or watching something that has a high chance of being triggering, that way the experience is not only informative, it is healing, too.

If you don’t already know how to tap, here is a wonderful 5 minute long animation that will help by our friends Gunilla Hamne and Ulf Sandstrom at Peaceful Heart Network, website:

We are living a new reality, or a “new normal” to borrow from those who are adjusting to the loss of a family member. One thing we do know is that the way forward is through emotional healing and advocacy for the rights of all living beings. We know that as we become healthily empowered with a greater ability to connect in love with ourselves & fellow human beings, that together we grow to create a world worth living for everyone.

Here's to your growth and healing and the growth and healing of all the world!

Please feel free to comment!


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