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Sen. Tim Scott schools Treasury Secretary Yellen on abortion’s economic impact, tells her about being raised by a single Mom in poverty

by | May 12, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

On May 10, Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury secretary, sat down with the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to “answer questions about risks to financial stability such as inflation, rising interest rates and volatile asset prices,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “But Democrats were more interested in her views on the risk that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade.” The editorial writer concluded “The exchange wasn’t helpful to their cause.”

How so?

Pro-abortion New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez wanted Ms.Yellen to confirm his bias. He asked, “What impact will the loss of abortion access mean economically for women?” Yellen followed his lead and pitched right in.

She said, “’Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care including abortion helped lead to increased labor force participation’ of women and ‘research also shows that it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children.’”

Pro-life South Carolina Republican Tim Scott politely inquired: “Did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?” 

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Ms. Yellen demurred but warned that restricting abortion would limit women’s ability to ‘plan lives that are fulfilling and satisfying’ and lead to more unwanted children especially by black women, ‘who will grow up in poverty and do worse themselves.’”

Sen. Scott countered “To the 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 is, just feels callous to me,” he added. “I think finding a way to have a debate around abortion in a meeting for the economic stability of our country is harsh.”

Near the end of the hearing, Sen. Scott said

“Telling Black teenage moms that there’s only one alternative for them [abortion] is a depressing and challenge message,” he said. “What I’m talking about is the importance of understanding the reality that even during tough financial times in households like the one I was raised, there is still hope.”

He ended, “I’m simply saying that the experience of so many of us, millions of us, in poverty, I conclude is a reason to be hopeful about what’s possible even for those incredibly powerful positive women making really hard choices.”

The Wall Street Journal reminded its readers of what is lost when a child is aborted:

More fundamental, Ms. Yellen overlooks the lost productive contribution of children who were never born. People are assets, the source of inventions and new businesses. Human capital is crucial to economic growth and a dynamic society. China has abandoned its one-child policy, which sometimes included coerced abortions, because it foresees a declining population in the years ahead.

The Journal editorial concluded

Abortion is a fraught moral issue, which is why it ought to be settled democratically, rather than by judicial fiat. But its consequences can’t be measured by lifetime earnings or the labor participation rate.