On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that repealing abortion rights will harm the American economy and’set women back decades.’
‘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,’ she said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing.<
Yellen was questioned on the draft Supreme Court opinion indicating that the justices support reversing Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 case that legalized abortion, and the economic impact of such a judgment.
‘It enabled many women to finish school that increase their earning potential and allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers,’ Yellen said of the case. ‘Research also demonstrates that it has a positive impact on children’s well-being and earnings.’
‘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,’ she added.
The draft ruling, which could be altered before being officially delivered at the end of the Supreme Court’s session this summer, sparked a national outcry when Politico published it.
Democrats have advocated for federal legislation to protect abortion. Republicans alleged the leak was done to try to pressure the justices through public opinion and protests.
Protests have erupted around the country, with demonstrators occupying the Supreme Court judges’ houses in Washington, D.C. With frequent rallies, the high court has become a focal point. The fences around the building have been raised.
Republican Senator Tim Scott, however, pushed up against Yellen’s remark during Tuesday’s hearing.
He believes that defining abortion through labor force participation is “callous.”
‘It means that children will grow up in poverty and do worse themselves,’ Yellen told him. ‘This is not harsh. ‘This is the reality.’
Scott mentioned that he grew up in poverty and was grateful to be there.
‘I’ll just say that as a guy raised by a black woman in abject poverty, I am thankful to be here as a United States senator,’ he said.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats are seeking to codify abortion rights.
The bill has already cleared the House, and the Senate is expected to vote on it this week.
Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist who has previously voted against similar legislation, remains a question mark for Senate Democrats.
He stated on Monday that he’ll ‘wait and see’ what Democrats have to say before announcing his support on the Senate’s most recent bill.
With Manchin on the fence, it’s uncertain if the Democrats can even get all 50 senators in their own caucus to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which falls well short of the 60 votes required from members of both parties to overcome a Republican filibuster threat.