Numb. Shattered. Happy. Ashamed. Heartbroken. Elated. Livid. Indifferent. Pleased. Powerless. Gutted. Grateful. These are just some of the words our readers used to describe their feelings about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion.
In the hours that followed the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned the fundamental right to an abortion established by Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago, Washington Post readers responded in droves to a callout asking how they felt — and why.
More than 23,000 people responded. The chorus of voices celebrated and decried the outcome, making it clear that abortion remains a deeply polarizing issue. The responses The Washington Post received are based on readership and not a statistical reflection of the nation’s mood overall.
The reasoning readers gave for their reactions varied, too. For many people, abortion is deeply personal; their feelings around the topic don’t fit neatly into a single box. But almost all respondents said their feelings around the law and equity were involved.
Data updated as of June 25, 2022 at 12:45 p.m.
Percentages do not account for selections that included “It doesn’t matter to me”
Of all the single words our readers used to describe their feelings, “angry” was by far used the most, followed by “disgusted,” “betrayed” and “outraged.” While the large majority of responses were critical of the decision, other readers who celebrated it responded with “happy,” “relieved” and “elated.” Some readers were also “unsurprised,” “indifferent” and “ambivalent.”
Some readers also expanded on their one-word answers; many of them told personal stories of abortion and indicated how the ruling would affect them directly.
“I don’t know what to do but cry,” a 22-year-old in Texas wrote. “I feel,” she continued, “helpless.”
Others were more analytical. I feel “fine,” another reader wrote. “The decision has been returned to the states, as the Constitution intended.”
The decision will inevitably shape American life for years to come. Of the 64 million women and girls of reproductive age in the United States, a majority live in states where abortion access is likely to be banned or restricted in some way.