During a US Senate Committee hearing, a debate over abortion ensued between Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Rep. Sen. Tim Scott, reported National Catholic Register. Yellen testified that access to abortion is beneficial to low-income Black women, to which Scott replied was false based on his own experiences growing up in poverty.
Following the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade, the topic came into question during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing. Yellen said women’s access to abortion would help women pursue their education, increase their earning potential and balance their personal and professional life. Yellen said studies have shown that when women don’t have access to abortion, the likelihood of them living in poverty or needing public assistance increases.
Scott then asked her if she meant that “ending the life of a child” was “good for the labor force participation rate.”
More on Scott’s remarks from National Catholic Register:
“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.”
At the end of the hearing, Scott stressed that millions of children face circumstances similar to his: being raised in poverty by single-parent households that are Black.
“Telling Black teenage moms that there’s only one alternative for them is a depressing and challenging 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.”
Yellen reiterated to him, “In many cases, abortions are of teenage women, particularly low-income and often Black, who aren’t in a position to be able to care for children.” Is she wrong? Children are a major emotional and financial responsibility that would certainly impact a woman’s ability to take care of both herself and her baby.
Scott may think his childhood gives hope for other mothers. But, hope isn’t enough for some women. Hope doesn’t guarantee anything for both the livelihood of the mother or the child.