Yellen trip to Capitol detours into tense abortion debate

May 10, 2022, 10:50 AM | Updated: 12:36 pm
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on monitor, questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Sena...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on monitor, questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP)

(Tom Williams/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s appearance before a Senate committee took an unexpected and tense detour into the abortion debate Tuesday when senators questioned her about the potential impact of an abortion ban on the American economy.

“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. He had introduced the topic with a question on how an abortion ban could financially harm women.

Yellen’s answer drew a sharp response from Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who asked her, “Did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?”

“I think people can disagree on the issue of being ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-abortion’ — but framing it in the labor force participation rate feels callous to me,” he said, adding that the conversation “to me seems harsh.”

Yellen responded: “This is not harsh, this is the truth.”

She continued by saying an abortion ban “deprives them of the ability to continue their education,” and those impacted are most commonly young Black women.

The line of questioning at the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee came after a Supreme Court draft opinion leaked last week that suggests the court is poised to throw out the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling that has stood for a half-century.

The hearing also touched on inflation, sanctions imposed on Russia and rising energy costs. Yellen said the U.S. “is focused on everything we can do to bring inflation down.”

The abortion issue came up multiple times. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said he disagreed with Yellen’s perspective, and offered his own economic analysis.

“I look at low birth rates and an aging population,” he said, arguing that there are negative economic impacts from abortion.

A number of economic analyses indicate that limitations on access to abortion can negatively impact people financially and in other ways.

Sarah Miller, a researcher at the University of Michigan, authored a paper with two others on the impact of abortion restrictions. The trio evaluated data on women who sought abortions at 30 clinics in 21 states but were turned away because they were past the clinics’ gestation limit. Two-thirds ended up giving birth.

“As we show in our paper,” Miller said, an abortion ban “will have pretty severe economic consequences for women to keep their head above water,” adding that “there could also be physical and mental health consequences.”

Committee chair Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ended by saying that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, every woman’s decision to determine her reproductive future and health would be “handed over to politicians.”

“It shouldn’t be handed over to me, it shouldn’t be handed over to Secretary Yellen, and it shouldn’t be handed over to Mitch McConnell,” he said, referring to the Senate Republican leader.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Mississippi justices block more DNA tests in death row case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that a death row inmate will not be allowed to seek additional DNA testing on crime scene evidence from the shooting deaths of two college students nearly 30 years ago. Willie Jerome Manning, now 54, remains in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He was […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

UK military investigates hacks on Army social media accounts

LONDON (AP) — British military authorities are trying to find out who hacked the army’s social media accounts over the weekend, flooding them with cryptocurrency videos and posts related to collectible electronic art. The investigation was launched after authorized content on the army’s YouTube account was replaced with a video feed promoting cryptocurrencies that included […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

NASA satellite breaks from orbit around Earth, heads to moon

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A satellite the size of a microwave oven successfully broke free from its orbit around Earth on Monday and is headed toward the moon, the latest step in NASA’s plan to land astronauts on the lunar surface again. It’s been an unusual journey already for the Capstone satellite. It was […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

It’s a new era for funding on both sides of abortion debate

NEW YORK (AP) — The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has ushered in a new era of funding on both sides of the abortion debate. With the legality of abortion now up to individual states to determine, an issue long debated by legislators and philanthropists — when it was largely theoretical because only […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Top NGO calls Switzerland ‘safe haven’ for Russian oligarchs

LUGANO, Switzerland (AP) — A leading Swiss nongovernmental group on Monday called out Switzerland as a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain and coal. Public Eye urged the Swiss executive branch to “use all levers at its disposal to stop the financing of this inhuman aggression,” in […]
5 hours ago
Some 25 tractors parked outside a distribution center for supermarket chain Albert Heijn during a b...
Associated Press

Dutch farmers block entrances to supermarket warehouses

ZAANDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch farmers angry at government plans to slash emissions used tractors and trucks Monday to blockade supermarket distribution centers, the latest actions in a summer of discontent in the country’s lucrative agricultural sector. The Netherlands’ busiest aviation hub, Schiphol Airport, urged travelers to use public transport to get to its terminals […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Yellen trip to Capitol detours into tense abortion debate