Janet Yellen Says Eliminating Abortion Access Would Have a Damaging Effect on the Economy

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has made the economic case for keeping abortion access available in the US as the Supreme Court prepares to release its decision on a Mississippi abortion case that could overturn the landmark decision in Roe v Wade protecting women’s right to abortion. Yellen argued that restricting access to abortion would hurt the US economy.

“I think taking away women’s right to make decisions about when and if they have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and set women back decades,” Yellen said in response to a question while testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. .

He then referred directly to the Roe v. Wade in 1973, stating that “access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped increase labor force participation. It allowed many women to finish school. That increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers.

Yellen’s comments came after a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court. filtered out ahead of the publication of the court’s decision in the Mississippi case. She noted that the high court was preparing to overturn the 50-year precedent protecting women’s right to abortion.

Republicans in the audience immediately took issue with linking abortion access to the economy. But in an exchange with Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, Yellen said she didn’t mean to be harsh, she was simply telling the truth.

“What we’re talking about is whether or not women will have the ability to regulate their reproductive status in a way that allows them to plan lives that are fulfilling and fulfilling for them. And one aspect of fulfilling life is being able to feel that you have the resources financial resources to raise a child, that the children you bring into the world are wanted and that you have the ability to care for them,” Yellen said.

Research over the last 30 years has shown that having affordable legal abortion in the US has increased women’s educational attainment and job opportunities.

Yellen noted that, in many cases, abortions have been an option for adolescent women, “particularly low-income and often black, who are not in a position to care for children, who have unexpected pregnancies.” Not having that option, she said, “often deprives them of the ability to continue their education, to then participate in the workforce. So there’s a spillover effect on workforce participation.”

Yellen said the children will grow up in poverty and fare worse.

Scott told Yellen, “I think people can disagree on the issue of being pro-life or pro-abortion, but in the end, I think framing it in the context of workforce participation is… seems insensitive.”

“I will just say that as a man raised by a Black woman in extreme poverty, I am grateful to be here as a United States Senator,” Scott also said.

He went on to suggest there could be a conversation about increasing child tax credits, child care and early childhood education, saying there are “lots of ways we can address the problem of the child that’s here.”

The possibility that Roe v. Wade is annulled ha drew renewed attention to the lack of support for women who have children. Of the 26 states that are certain or likely to ban abortion if the decision is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, none offer paid family leave. And several chose not to expand Medicaid.

Last year, Democrats tried to extend monthly Child Tax Credit payments for families with children, implement affordable child care and create a federal paid family leave program as part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The legislation passed with the support of House Democrats, but was blocked in the Senate, opposed by all Senate Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin.

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