WASHINGTON, May 10 — Overturning the right of US women to get an abortion would have steep economic costs, curtailing their earnings and pushing more children into poverty, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said today.

“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 a Senate hearing. 

Access to health care including abortion “helped lead to increased labour force participation. It enabled many women to finish school. That increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families,” she said.

A leaked draft decision showed the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalised abortion, even though polls show the majority of Americans support access to the procedure. 

Yellen said the move would have long-lasting effects on children, especially those born to low-income women, who would be more likely to “grow up in poverty and do worse themselves.”

“This is not harsh, this is the truth,” she told senators. — AFP