Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attracted mainstream media attention this week for parroting the false claim that aborting unborn babies is good for the economy.
The claim is a common one, often made by abortion activists and political figures to justify the deaths of more than 63 million unborn babies to legalized abortion in the past 50 years. But it isn’t true. Quite the opposite, abortion hurts the economy by depriving society of future earners and innovators and individuals of children to care for them in their old age.
Yellen argued the financial case for legalized abortion Tuesday during a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing after a senator asked her about the recent U.S. Supreme Court leak that suggests Roe v. Wade will be overturned soon.
“I believe eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and set women back decades,” Yellen replied.
She said abortion allows women to live “fulfilling and satisfying” lives and pointed to research that shows women who are denied abortions have an increased risk of living in poverty or needing welfare, CNN reports.
All of these claims and studies, however, fail to take into account the value of the child in the womb – a unique, living and irreplaceable human being who deserves a right to life.
“Like the Confederates who settled on an economic argument to defend slavery rather than justify such a travesty on the principle of personhood, Yellen is not only avoiding a moral defense of the morally indefensible, but she is also demonstrably wrong,” Tiana Lowe, founder of the University of Southern California Economics Review, responded at the Washington Examiner this week.
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The value of human lives cannot and should not be measured in terms of dollars and cents, but the loss of lives to abortion does harm society economically as well as socially.
In 2018, Dennis Howard, the president of the pro-life group Movement for a Better America, estimated that the United States has a “cumulative GDP deficit of $62.6 trillion” as a result of the 61 million unborn babies who had been aborted up to that year. He estimated the deficit will reach $400 trillion by 2040 if unborn babies continue to be aborted at the same rate.
“There is no smoke and mirrors about it,” Howard wrote at the time. “When you remove 61.4 million people from the population who would have lived productive lives for an average of 78 years, the losses pile up year after year.”
A few years earlier, Dr. Brian Clowes, director of education and research at Human Life International, calculated that the “direct cost of each abortion to society in terms of lost consumption and taxes paid amounts to, on average, $3,720,000.” Cumulatively, Clowes said that means trillions of dollars of economic loss due to the millions of unborn babies who have been aborted.
Others have pointed out that abortion has led to fewer people contributing to Social Security, Medicare and personal care for the aging, as well as the workforce and innovative efforts.
In 1998, the late Larry Burkett, a highly-regarded financial adviser, wrote about the damaging effects of Roe on Medicare and Social Security.
“Incredible as it may seem, by the time the peak of the baby boom generation reaches retirement age, the number of abortions since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision will equal the number of births in the baby boom,” Burkett wrote at the time. He also quoted a USA Today article, which speculated, “If only one-third of those who have been aborted were available to start work on their 18th birthday, the demise of Social Security would be put off for decades.”
Many European and Asian countries already are struggling with these problems as a result of abortions and low birth rates – a “demographic winter” where welfare money is running out and there are not enough young people to care for the elderly.
More disastrous effects of China’s one child policy, along with forced and coerced abortions, also are becoming abundantly clear as its population ages. Last year, Lihong Shi, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University, estimated at least 1 million older adults in China lack support in their old age because their only child died.
“A child’s death is devastating to all parents. But for Chinese parents, losing an only child can add financial ruin to emotional devastation,” Shi told the Macau Daily Times. “That’s one conclusion of a research project on parental grief I’ve conducted in China since 2016.”
Now, China and some European countries are discussing ways to encourage more young people to have children because the situation has become so dire. The problem even has prompted comments from Pope Francis and billionaire Elon Musk.
To say that children are a benefit to society once may have seemed trite, but no longer. As abortion activists demand more abortions and politicians come to their aid in the form of tens of millions of tax dollars and as the troublesome idea that having children is unethical because it will harm the environment becomes increasingly prevalent among young adults, it is more important than ever to remind people that children are valuable, beneficial and necessary for a successful, thriving society.