Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) chided Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday for claiming abortion benefits the economy.
What did Yellen claim?
While she was testifying before a Senate committee, Yellen claimed that reversing abortion rights would be “very damaging” to the U.S. economy, specifically citing the labor participation rate.
“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 in response to a question from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, 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 also shows that it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children. 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.
What happened with Scott?
When it was Scott’s turn to question Yellen, he confronted her over her “troubling” and “callous” remarks.
“Just for clarity’s sake, did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?” he asked before repeating her comments.
“As a guy who was raised by a single mom, who worked long hours to keep us out of poverty, 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, further describing her comments as “harsh.”
‘Did You Say Ending The Life Of A Child Is Good For The Labor Force Participation Rate?’
Yellen responded that she did not intend to be “harsh,” and she claimed this issue is about ability of women “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. So, there is a spillover into labor participation.”
“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 shot back.