During testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Biden's Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touched on the topic that's been on Americans' minds since an unprecedented leak from the Supreme Court suggested an overturn of Roe v. Wade was imminent.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) raised the issue with a question about America's economy and a decrease in the labor force participation rate. "What impact will the loss of abortion access mean economically for women?" he asked Secretary Yellen.
"Well, 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 contended. "Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation," she claimed. "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," Yellen added in a gross conclusion that omitted the fact that the "favorable impact" on children only applied to those whose mothers didn't kill them.
"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 increase their odds of living in poverty or need for public assistance," Yellen added to defend her position that abortion is necessary to a strong economy.
Also on the Senate Banking Committee is South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who took specific issue with Yellen's claim that women, black women in particular, need abortion in order to succeed.
"Some of your comments in response to Bob's question, I found troubling," Senator Scott began. "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 quoting Yellen's comments back to her.
"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, it just feels callous to me," Scott said. "I think finding a way to have a debate around abortion in a meeting for the economic stability of our country is harsh. And I'm just surprised that we find ways to weave into every facet of our lives such an important and painful reality for so many people to make it sound like it's just another .4 percent added to our labor force participation as a result of the issue of abortion, just to me seems harsh," Scott reiterated.
"I certainly don't mean to say what I think the effects are in a manner that's harsh," Yellen responded coldly. "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," she said, doubling down on her assertion that abortion is necessary for women to have successful and happy lives.
"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 added, apparently thinking that evaluation isn't "harsh" either. "This isn't harsh, this is the truth," she said.
"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 responded to Yellen's attempted defense of her earlier statement that only made her position worse.
If we want to talk about the economic stability of our country—let’s talk about lowering inflation and providing positive economic opportunities for single moms and low-income families like the one I grew up in. pic.twitter.com/xqP6eFLqre— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 10, 2022
Senator Cortez-Masto then pushed back on Senator Scott, scolding him for supposedly trying to "impose your experience and your circumstances on others [before] you walk in their shoes," a gross attack aimed presumably at marginalizing his experience, the sort of thing the left touts endlessly when it's a "shout your abortion" narrative and not a story of success, as Senator Scott's is, in spite of odds stacked against him.
Instead of going straight into his closing statement, Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA) yielded his time to Senator Scott to have the last word and again address what Secretary Yellen and his Democrat colleagues had said about abortion and his own experience.
"I know that Senator Cortez-Masto said 'why should I impose my circumstances on others.' Well, I think because my circumstance is somewhat like so many others," he explained. "Millions and millions of kids being raised in poverty by single parent households who happen to be black — telling black teenage moms that there's only one alternative for them — is a depressing and challenging message," Scott said.
"So, sitting through and listening to so many folks stereotype the necessity of making a life-altering decision as if it's 'the' option, to me, is not right," Scott continued. "And I understand that this issue, the issue of abortion, is a difficult issue — but let's remember that the rate of abortion for teenage moms is at the lowest we've seen ever. New York Times says it's under ten percent," Scott noted. "And so 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."
"There is still hope, because we've seen the consequences of good policies and unfortunately we've had to experience the consequences of bad policies," Scott reminded. "You're talking about the challenges in many of the minority communities around this country. We've seen in the last couple years a 44 percent increase in homicides around this nation — 85 percent of that increase have been African Americans and Hispanics being killed — that impacts the labor force participation rate without any question, and it does so negatively," Scott highlighted, turning Yellen's point around on her. "I think about the reasons we should be hopeful and send a message of optimism and opportunity to single moms around this country challenged with too much month at the end of the money," Scott said.
The American Dream is one of hope and opportunity. We should be having conversations about economic policies that ensure everyone—including single moms and their kids—have access to that dream. Sec. Yellen's comments today don't meet that mark. pic.twitter.com/DqumCuggHs— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 10, 2022