Today’s Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. Each state now has the power to legalize or ban abortion. Depending on where you live, you may no longer have the right to make an informed decision about your body. This feels scary to me as a mom of a teen heading to college, middle school teacher, and a human being. As I work to unpack my feelings about this big topic, we’re already talking about the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision in our house.
Talking About the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Decision with Kids
The magnitude of the decision brings up a whole host of emotions. Kids are perceptive. They’re likely to pick up on your feelings and have questions about your emotions.
Here are tips for how to have an age-appropriate conversation with your kids, resources to help you prepare for talking about this big topic, where to go to better understand the new laws in states around the country, and steps to take to protect data that could be used to against you.
Have an Age-Appropriate Conversation About Abortion
The conversation I’m having in my house with my 18 and almost 16-year-old differs from the one I would have had with my kids when they were younger. They follow the news and are aware of how today’s decision could affect them.
But kids could have questions at any time and since you never know when the conversation could occur, it’s important to be prepared. When the topic comes up, try to figure out what your child really wants to know.
What your elementary schooler wants to know about abortion might not be what you think. They might just be curious about why everyone is talking about today’s ruling. High schoolers who have learned about court cases through their government classes have a better understanding of why the SCOTUS decision matters from a historical perspective and may want to discuss it in terms of history.
This ruling affects sexually active teens and college-age students in a different way. Talking about the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision may lead to them wanting to volunteer, protest, or donate summer earnings as a result.
Regardless of the age of your child, let them guide the conversation. Ask them questions to dig deeper to better understand what they’re asking instead of assuming.
It’s also important to acknowledge that they came to you. Let them know you’re glad they want to talk about what they’re hearing. Talking now demonstrates that they trust you and need your guidance.
Keep reading for resources that will help you prepare for the questions your child may have.
Prepare for the Abortion Conversation with These Resources
Abortion is a big topic and one that will come up when talking about the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision. While you may be naturally inclined to shy away from this conversation because it has to do with sex and pregnancy, it’s important to be prepared to talk about it when it arises. Amaze Parents has fantastic educational resources for parents that can help inform your conversation and make things less weird.
Amaze.org features helpful videos for tweens and teens this wording that can be helpful in talking about abortion:
Every day, all around the world, people get pregnant under a range of circumstances. When a pregnancy is not intended, a person has to decide if they want to be a parent. Some people choose to become parents when a pregnancy was not planned. If a person chooses not to parent, another option is to arrange an adoption for their baby. A third option would be to choose to have an abortion. Abortion is when a pregnancy stops developing. Sometimes this can happen without a person choosing it, which is called a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. If a person chooses to have an abortion, they will decide to have either a surgical or medical abortion procedure.
Amaze.org also has information about surgical abortions, medical abortions, abortion with pills, and self- managed abortions that might answer questions your high schooler or college student have. Click on this link and scroll to the heading that says Youth to read more about each of these topics.
There are also 3 videos on Amaze.org that are about abortion. While well suited for teens and older, you are the best judge of what is best for your child based on their age and maturity.
- What is an Abortion video provides information about the different types of abortions, state laws and a person’s rights, and how and where a person can obtain abortion services.
- Abortion with Pills: What is it? provides information about medication and self-managed abortion, state laws and a person’s rights, and how and where a person can obtain more information. This video emphasizes the importance of the pregnant person’s right to determine their pregnancy options and how talking to a trusted adult can be helpful when trying to make the right choice.
- Understanding abortion: what are your options?
Understand the Laws Your State (and Where Your College Student Goes to School)
My 18-year-old daughter is heading to college in a different state than where we live this fall. It’s important to understand the laws in both places, especially since some states have had new laws go into place, as of today.
This State-By-State Guide provides a quick overview of the abortion law for each state.
It features the most up to date information about abortion laws along with local, regional and national resources. When talking about the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision with teens, you can open this site and use it as a conversation starter as you look at it together.
For parents of college students, the laws may be different in your home state versus where they’re enrolled in school. Click on the state to understand the laws there and how they may affect options for safe, legal abortions.
Protect Your Data by Doing These Things
When talking about the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, it’s important to include a conversation about data because data is a commodity in today’s digital world. Our digital information could be used as evidence in cases criminalizing abortion.
Tech companies have said they’ll protect user privacy but that feels too risky. Now is a great time to talk to teens about their data and how it’s used by companies for good and bad.
“The problem is that, if you build it, they will come,” said Corynne McSherry, legal director at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in Roe v. Wade overturned: Here’s how tech companies and internet users and protect privacy. “If you create huge databases of information, what you’re also creating is sort of a honeypot for law enforcement to come to you, you being a third party, and try to get that information if they think it’s useful for prosecutions.”
If you’re not sure how to start protecting your own information and data, McSherry recommends the following McSherry recommends the following in this CNBC piece:
- Use a search engine or browser that minimizes data collection. She suggests DuckDuckGo, Firefox, and Brave because they minimize data retention by default. Another option is to use a private browsing window that won’t save the search history.
- Communicate sensitive information via encrypted messaging services. McSherry recommends Signal.
- Set up a secondary email address and phone number
- Consider using a VPN
Also be concerned about the personal health data stored in digital planners and digital period trackers.
Since apps like Flo, Clue, and other period trackers through smart watches can show when periods and pregnancies start and stop, NPR reports they “could potentially be used to penalize anyone seeking or considering an abortion.”
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own. Sources are quoted and referenced through a link to the original article.