WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen weighed in on the abortion debate Tuesday, arguing that access to the procedure led to positive economic outcomes for women.
"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 during The Financial Stability Oversight Council's annual report to Congress.
Her comments came after questioning from Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who cited research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research that showed current state level abortion restrictions already cost the U.S. about $105 billion annually due to reduced earning levels, increased job turnover and time off for women.
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"Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation," Yellen said. "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 it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children."
Yellen added that research performed over the years about the economic impact of access to abortion clearly shows that limiting reproductive rights increased women's odds of living in poverty or need for public assistance.
Yellen has served as Treasury Secretary since January 2021 and was formerly chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014-2018, under President Barack Obama.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: Abortion improves women's outcomes