Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that ending women’s access to abortion would have a “very damaging effect” on the US economy, preventing some women from completing their education and their lifetime earning potential and labor force participation. will have to be reduced.
Yellen’s remarks at a Senate Banking Committee hearing came just a week after a Supreme Court draft was leaked, which Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. The pending decision has raised fears that many more states will introduce far-reaching abortion restrictions.
The issue dominated hearings regarding the annual report of the Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council.
Yellen, the first female Treasury secretary, said in response to a senator’s question that research has shown that Roe v. Wade has had a favorable impact on the well-being of children and by denying abortions to women their chances of living in poverty or on public aid.
Yellen said, “I believe that ending women’s rights to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have a very damaging impact on the economy and set women decades behind.”
Yellen’s comments drew a rebuke from Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who said his talk about the economic consequences of the abortion debate was “harsh” and inappropriate for such a painful social issue.
“I think people can disagree on the issue of being pro-life or pro-abortion. But in the end, I think, to frame it in terms of labor force participation, it seems too daunting to me,” Scott Said, he was raised in poverty by a black single mother.
Yellen responded by saying that reproductive rights allow women to plan “full and satisfying” lives, including the financial resources to raise a child.
“In many cases, abortions occur to adolescent women, especially low-income and often black, who are not able to care for children, have unexpected pregnancies, and this often deprives them of the ability to continue their education. does. to participate in the workforce later,” Yellen said.
“So there is a spillover in labor force participation, but it means children will grow up in poverty and do worse themselves,” Yellen said. “It’s not harsh. It’s true,” he added.
Fellow Democrats came to Yellen’s defense, including Senator Katherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who told Scott not to “impose your experience and your circumstances on others” unless you walk in his shoes.
Senator Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat and another member of the banking panel, told CNN that Yellen was expressing a fundamental truth about women’s autonomy.
Smith said, “She was expressing what I believe almost every woman knows: If you don’t have control over your reproductive life, you don’t have control over any aspect of your life, including Your financial opportunities are also included.”