Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Wednesday that reproductive rights aren’t just a matter of personal choice, but a matter of financial security.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Abrams pushed back against contributor Mike Barnicle’s argument that abortion, while an issue, “nowhere reaches the level of interest” of gas and other cost of living concerns as inflation continues to rise.
“Let’s be clear: Having children is why you’re worried about your price for gas, it’s why you’re concerned about how much food costs,” Abrams responded. “For women, this is not a reductive issue. … You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.”
“It’s important for us to have both conversations,” Abrams continued. “We don’t have the luxury of reducing it or separating them out.”
Abrams added that a governor can help tackle those economic concerns by addressing things like housing prices and the cost of education.
“Let’s not pretend that women, half the population, especially those of childbearing age — they understand that having a child is absolutely an economic issue,” she concluded. “It is only politicians who see it as simply another cultural conversation. It is a real biological and economic imperative conversation that women need to have.”
Research has shown that access to abortion could be important in maintaining financial security.
The Economic Policy Institute reported that economic consequences of being denied an abortion included a higher chance of living in poverty, a lower likelihood of full time employment and an increase in unpaid debt and financial distress.
Middle-class families alone can expect to spend more than $230,000 on food, shelter and other necessities to raise a child through the age of 17, according to data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey.
But child rearing costs are also break down differently along racial lines. The poverty rate among Black women is more than double that of white women.
Access to abortion led to significant increases in high school college graduation, college entrance and labor force participation among Black women, according to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Concerns over the economic impact of outlawing abortion sprouted in May, after the leaked majority opinion draft indicated that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
At the time, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said overturning Roe v. Wade would have “damaging effects on the economy.”
White House Economic adviser Jared Bernstein said the loss of reproductive rights was “like losing a job. It’s like being evicted, it’s like losing health insurance, it’s like going to the hospital in terms of its impact on their finances.”
Currently, 13 states have banned most abortions. Georgia bans abortions at six weeks of pregnancy.