President Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, said Tuesday that making abortion illegal would be bad for the economy.
Yellen was asked by Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez during a Senate hearing about the economic impact of the Supreme Court’s reported decision to undo Roe v. Wade, Yellen claims legalized abortion allows women to make more money and participate in the labor force.
“I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy, and would set women back decades,” Yellen said. “Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation, it enabled many women to finish school, that increased their earning potential, it allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers, and research shows that it had a favorable impact on the wellbeing and earnings of children.”
She argued that restricting abortion would lead to women living in poverty and needing government assistance.
“There are many research studies that have been done over the years looking at the economic impacts of access, or lack thereof, to abortion, and it makes clear that denying women access to abortion increases their odds of living in poverty or need for public assistance,” Yellen said.
The Treasury Secretary was later pressed on the pro-abortion comments by Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. “Some of your comments in response to Bob’s question, I found troubling. Just for clarity’s sake, did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?”
“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 labor force participation, it just feels callous to me,” Scott added.
“I certainly don’t mean to say what I think the effects are in a manner that’s harsh,” Yellen responded. “What we’re talking about is whether or not women will have the ability to regulate their reproductive situation in ways that will enable them to plan lives that are fulfilling and satisfying for them.”
“One aspect of a satisfying life is being able to feel that you have the financial resources to raise a child, that the children you bring into the world are wanted, and that you have the ability to take care of them,” Yellen continued. “In many cases abortions are of teenage women, particularly low-income and often black, who aren’t in a position to be able to care for children, have unexpected pregnancies, and it deprives them of the ability often to continue their education, to later participate in the workforce.”
“I’ll just simply say that as a guy raised by a black woman in abject poverty, I am thankful to be here as a United States Senator,” Scott replied.